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Realism will probably win out over optimism as trainer David Hayes finalises autumn carnival plans for Clifton Red after the filly scored a debut victory in the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Flemington.

As impressed as he was with Clifton Red’s Group Three success, Hayes said the Golden Slipper might be aiming too high, suggesting the Sires’ Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes would be more suitable.

Clifton Red (Adrienne Bicknell)

Clifton Red (Adrienne Bicknell)

“She’ll definitely go to Sydney, probably to run in either the Reisling or another race (the Magic Night Stakes) the week before the Slipper,” Hayes said.

“But realistically, I think the Sires’ or the Champagne Stakes would be better races for her.

“She would have to run really well next start to invite herself into the Golden Slipper.”

Clifton Red ($26) needed every bit of the 1200m to win by a long neck from the favourite Ygritte ($2.45) with Thalia ($5) a further 2-1/4 lengths away in third place.

Despite Clifton Red being the outsider of the field, Hayes admitted to having backed the filly.

“She’d trialled well down the straight so I had something each-way on her,” he said.

“It’s pretty hard to beat experienced horses down the straight so you’d have to think she’s got some ability.”

 
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