Two horses returning from knee surgery will spearhead Lindsay Park’s assault on the metropolitan meeting at Mornington.
The training team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig notched its 100th Victorian metropolitan winner for the season at Flemington on Saturday with Bullish Stock.
The next milestone in sight for the operation’s senior trainer David Hayes is to better his previous season-best metropolitan tally of Melbourne winners which stands at 103 in his premiership-winning season of 2006-07.
The stable has six runners entered at Mornington including three-year-olds Kafoo and Amanaat who are both resuming from knee surgery.
Kafoo has been restricted to just one start which came 72 weeks ago when sixth in a Blue Diamond Preview at Caulfield.
Now a gelding, Kafoo resumes in the Karingal Football & Netball Club Plate (1200m) and has the second widest barrier in a field of 15.
“He’s had knee surgery and he’s coming back,” David Hayes said.
“He’s got an awkward gate on Monday but he’s a talented horse. We thought enough of him to run him in a Blue Diamond Preview.”
“He’s come back and seems to be going pretty well. I wish he had drawn a better gate.”
Amanaat won by four lengths on debut on the Pakenham synthetic track in May last year then started favourite when he resumed at Flemington in a 1000m race during the Melbourne Cup carnival last year.
He was unplaced and subsequently also needed knee surgery.
He lines up in the Hog’s Breath Steaks (1000m) from a wide draw having also been gelded since his most recent start.
“They both seem well,” Hayes said.
“But they’re not at their peak having had so long out.”
Hayes said Amanaat and Kafoo were the two horses with the most upside out of the stable’s Mornington entrants.
Hayes has premiership-leading rider Beau Mertens on Amanaat while Mertens’ challenger for the title, Craig Williams, is on Kafoo.
Mertens rode one winner at Flemington on Saturday in Williams’ absence to move to a two-win lead.