David Hayes is already thinking of the spring with Independent Road after his last-to-first victory at Flemington.
The Lindsay Park-trained two-year-old is off for a break after his win in Saturday’s Hugh Bowman Hall Of Fame Trophy to be set for the Victoria Derby at Flemington in the spring.
Ridden by Jordan Childs, Independent Road ($6) scored a three-quarter length win from Leven Lass ($6.50) with The Pugilist ($4.80) the same margin away third.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, was excited by the win after concerns pre-race about a lack of tempo.
“Coming from last today, only good horses can do that,” Hayes said.
“The figures he put out to be beaten at Bendigo were excellent and to see it again, that tells me to back off now and set him for the Derby in the spring.
“I thought with the slow tempo, the stablemate (La Lucciola, fourth) may be too sharp but she was disappointing and he was a bit better than I thought he was.”
With no 1600m race for two-year-olds until July, Hayes said that was too late to then prepare for the Derby.
He said the Gibson Carmichael Stakes (1600m) was previously run earlier in June and would have been a suitable assignment.
“This win today qualifies him for everything so we don’t need to go too far,” Hayes said.