Damian Lane steers Keen Array to victory at Caulfield on Wednesday. Picture: Colleen Petch
DAVID Hayes unleashed his best three-year-old sprinter and added a wad of cash to his recent Group 1 booty with victory in Wednesday’s Blue Sapphire Stakes feature at Caulfield.
Hayes and training partner Tom Dabernig have waited patiently to showcase Keen Array, who fired ahead of Sydney sprinter Mogador to win by a long neck over the 1200m trip.
Although only a Listed race, the winner’s purse of $210,000 plus $30,000 in bonuses proved a good earn for the training team.
“This horse has a big, big future,” Hayes said. “He was my best two-year-old, but went shin sore, and now he is my best three-year-old sprinter and one of the best in Australia.”
Hayes said the race loomed “as a two-horse race and that’s how it turned out” in the absence of the Peter Moody-trained Kinglike, who was scratched with a view to Saturday’s Caulfield Sprint (1000m).
“John (O’Shea) has a very big opinion of Mogador and our bloke had to be at his absolute best to beat him,” he said.
Hayes said he would consider the Group 3 dash over 1200m on Cox Plate day with Keen Array, or step up to the elite level in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 31.
Jockey Damian Lane, whose ride Hayes described as having considerable poise as he sat near the rear before rounding up the small field, said the gelding had “a big motor” and won with “plenty in the tank”.
David Hayes has got his stable humming this spring. Picture: Colleen Petch.Source:News Corp Australia
“He probably should be unbeaten. He has a big future,” he said.
The win was the second leg of a double for Lane, who won earlier on Secret Toy Bizness in the Subzero Greys, and continued his outstanding form since a stint in Hong Kong.
Trainer Danny O’Brien is aiming for Group 1 success with former Perth mare Miss Rose De Lago, a three length winner of the Group 3 Ladies’ Day Vase (1600m).
“She has won all three of her races at Caulfield and this is getting to her pet distances of a mile (1600m) and 2000m,” the Flemington trainer said.
“I’m aiming her for the Myer Classic (1600m at Flemington on October 31) and then we may head to Perth for the Kingston Town and the Railway Stakes. They are Group 1 races and I think he will acquit herself really well in them all.”
New Zealand jockey Opie Bosson, who took the ride last start when the daughter of Encosta De Lago was beaten half-a-length into fourth in the Group 2 Let’s Elope over the unsuitably short 1400m at Flemington a month ago, jumped her to the lead and she was never challenged.
Bosson hopes his winning form continues on Saturday when he rides the favourite Mongolian Khan in the Caulfield Cup.