One bad month is excusable, a second is worrying and after a third, trainer David Hayes admitted to becoming “very anxious”.
“We’ve had a few very lean months,” Hayes said.
“It was getting very trying.”
But the pressure came off at Flemington on Saturday as the seven-time premier Melbourne trainer led in two winners and a second in the first three races, including a double of the day’s two juvenile events.
The highlight for Hayes came with the win of Zululand in the Group Two Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m)
And the key to Zululand’s improvement on his only three previous runs was the extra distance of Saturday’s race.
“I don’t think there’s much doubt he’ll be even better when he gets to 1600 metres,” Hayes said.
Like Hayes’s earlier winner two-year-old winner Clifton Rock, Zululand will continue his campaign in Sydney.
Zululand ($9) came from near last, striking the front at the 150m and coming away to score by 1-1/2 lengths from the favourite Awesome Rock ($3.30) with short-head to Marcado ($4.80) in third.