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The CS Hayes Stakes is on the agenda for promising three-year-old Vinland

A race dear to the heart of Tony McEvoy is on the agenda for promising three-year-old Vinland.

The C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington on Saturday will be the return run for the three-year-old with the Group One Australian Guineas, also at Flemington a fortnight later, his immediate target.

McEvoy won the two races last year with Hey Doc and was one of the late Hall Of Fame trainer Colin Hayes’ trusted lieutenants at Lindsay Park.

Vinland stamped his authority with an imposing win at Sandown on wet ground in early December before running fourth at Caulfield a fortnight later.

McEvoy sent the colt back to his property at Angaston in South Australia for a break and recently trialled him up the straight at Flemington.

“He let us down last start a little bit when he ran fourth on firm ground and was ridden a bit upside down in that race,” McEvoy said.

“I backed off him, took him back home and sweetened him up.

“The key to him will be the ground. He needs some give in the ground and I’d be loath to run him on firm ground.”

McEvoy said Vinland, who underwent knee surgery as a younger horse, could be swung to Sydney for the Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 10, a week after the Australian Guineas, if he felt the track would be too firm.

Following Vinland’s jump-out at Flemington on February 2, McEvoy said he had not let up on him.

“I’ve given him some solid work since his jump-out the other day,” McEvoy said.

“He needs to be pretty forward for Saturday if he’s going to run in the Guineas second-up.

“If I was going to give him two runs before the Guineas I might have been a bit kinder but I’m happy with where he’s at.”

Vinland is a $26 chance in current Australian Guineas markets headed by Aloisia at $5 ahead of Cliffs Edge and Kementari at $7.

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