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David Hayes is looking forward to three-year-old Keen Array taking the next step when he contests Listed grade for the first time at Caulfield.

Keen Array lines up in the Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield on Wednesday, the middle day of the Caulfield Cup carnival.

The son of Bel Esprit is one of eight runners in the 1200m sprint that will also feature impressive Danehill Stakes winner Kinglike, Godolphin duo Haptic and Mogador and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Raphael’s Cat and Dark Steel.

Hayes and training partner Tom Dabernig will also saddle up maiden galloper Von Maestro in the race.

Keen Array created a huge impression with victories on the synthetic tracks at Geelong and Pakenham at the start of his preparation before running second at Caulfield on September 19.

He returned to winning form at Moonee Valley on October 2, running slick time, faster than the open sprinters later in the night.

“He’s a pretty exciting sprinter,” Hayes said.

“I loved the time he ran when winning last time.

“Tawteen went like a bat of hell in the open sprint and they ran a second slower.

“He’s really trained on and is better than what he was the other day.”

Hayes said he would monitor Keen Array’s progression and depending on how he came through Wednesday’s race, the trainer would look to a class rise during the Melbourne Cup carnival.

Keen Array is the $3.40 second favourite in early markets for Wednesday’s race with Godolphin’s Mogador, a last start Warwick Farm winner, the $3 favourite.

Kinglike, who beat Raphael’s Cat in the Danehill Stakes at Flemington on September 12, is next in line at $3.60.

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