Champion trainer David Hayes does not see the outside barrier as a disadvantage for last-start winner Hawkshot who forms part of a three-pronged attack for his stable in the Group One Australian Guineas.
Hawkshot dominated the Group Two Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in his first start for Hayes’ Lindsay Park operation three weeks ago after being transferred from the now-disqualified Darren Weir.
And while Hawkshot is among the main contenders for Saturday’s $1 million race at Flemington at $6.50, it was his stablemate Amphitrite holding slight favouritism at $4.80 over Tasmanian filly Mystic Journey on Friday.
Amphitrite won The Vanity first-up for Lindsay Park after also being transferred from Weir, and the she has barrier five in the field of 16.
“She probably deserves to be favourite with the barrier,” Hayes said.
“But I don’t think the outside barrier for Hawkshot is a disadvantage because he’s a horse who tends to over-race.
“(Jockey) Mark Zahra was keen that he drew out rather than in so he didn’t have to push and hold his inside position to go forward, because he doesn’t come back very well.
“I think it’s a good barrier for him as well, and Long Leaf has a perfect gate (7).
“Amphitrite and Hawkshot couldn’t have been more impressive in their lead-ups and Long Leaf won an international $1 million race (Karaka 3YO Classic) last start, so we’ve got a really good hand in the race.
“With luck in running they should run well.”
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben Hayes and nephew Tom Dabernig, said the plan would be to flow forward again with Hawkshot who could press on to Sydney for longer races.
Hayes said Amphitrite had done everything right since The Vanity.
“She certainly hasn’t gone backwards,” he said.
Hayes said Long Leaf had been in work since the start of the season but he has been thrilled with him since his win in New Zealand in late January.
“His trackwork has been great,” he said.
“He’s probably got back from New Zealand better than he left.”