Star sprinter Hay List is ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery while his injured trainer John McNair’s rehabilitation from several broken bones is taking longer than he would like.
McNair suffered broken vertebrae, a broken pelvis and more breaks to his right ankle and foot when a horse fell on him in early September and is looking at another two to three months before things return to some sort of normality.
One member of the team who is fit and ready to compete is Irish Jig, the former Hong Kong galloper who represents the stable at Rosehill on Saturday.
“Hay List is well ahead of where they expected him to be,” McNair said.
“He’s had three knee surgeries but is progessing quickly.
“He’s up to cantering and I hope we see him in the autumn.
“He’ll bypass the Lightning and race in Sydney. I think he races better in this direction and the Challenge Stakes is a race I’ve picked to start off with.
“He’s doing better than me. It’s been ten weeks and I thought I’d be right by now but will need a stick for a bit longer although the doctors tell me I am doing better than most.
“The worst thing is not being able to get on a horse.”
While he can’t be hands-on, McNair has been keeping a keen eye on his horses and is convinced Irish Jig is ripe for a bold first-up run in the November Flying (1200m).
Irish Jig began his career in Ireland where he scored two wins and was sent to John Moore in Hong Kong.
He recorded just one win and a string of placings in his two years there and was sent to McNair with a view to retirement.
“I get a lot of horses who have broken down up there and are sent to me to find homes for,” he said.
“He had some problems but he came good and his owners love their racing so we thought we’d get him back to the track.”
Irish Jig has has eight starts for McNair, notching a frustrating five minor placings in his first preparation.
He had just one winter start for a 1200m victory at Rosehill in June and won a barrier trial last month to prepare for his return.
“It is a nice race for him on Saturday,” McNair said.
“He will come in at the bottom of the weights and Nathan Berry will ride.”
Last year’s South Australian Derby winner Shadows In The Sun was among the 11 entries taken on Monday with Welkom Gold the top rater on 96 with Irish Jig 83.