David Hayes has a couple of Derbys in mind for First Amendment who will face his biggest test when he makes his city debut at Flemington.
First Amendment broke his maiden over 1600m at Ballarat on November 21 at his fourth start and while Hayes admits the gelding faces a big step up in Saturday’s Cafe Adamo Handicap over the same distance, he is keen to see how he measures up.
“He’s a nice moving horse and he couldn’t have won his maiden more impressively,” Hayes said.
“He was unlucky the start before.
“It’s a big step up in class here on the weekend but I think he’ll be pretty competitive from a good gate (in barrier three).”
Hayes has the Listed Tasmanian Derby (2200m) in Hobart in mind for First Amendment in early February while another Derby could be on the radar later in the season.
“I’m hoping he’s an SA Derby style of horse,” Hayes said.
The Group One South Australian Derby is over 2500m in May.
First Amendment is at $26 with the talented Galaxy Raider the even-money favourite in the field of eight ahead of Dollar For Dollar at $3.70.
Hayes believes Hell Or Highwater can continue her winning form in Saturday’s Hollywood Nails Handicap (1700m) where she will be chasing her fourth win from her past five starts.
Hell Or Highwater worked across to lead at her most recent start at Moonee Valley over 1600m in a mares benchmark-84 and held her rivals at bay to win by a length.
“She’s just racing really well,” Hayes said.
“I can see her sitting up on the pace and grabbing the race by the scruff of the neck. The 1700 metres is a slight query but she’s fit.
“If she won well we would probably look for one more similar mares’ race before backing off her.
“I think she might be a nice mare to train for black type races in Adelaide next preparation.”
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, has fillies Cardenas and Bella Ava as chances in the Dorevitch Pathology Charity Plate (1200m).
Hayes said Cardenas was on trial for the $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast in January.
The stable also has two chances in the Western Health First Response Pharmacy Cup (1400m) with Tashbeeh at $5.50 while multiple stakes-placed stablemate Metaphorical is at $11.
Both could go on to the Lord Stakes on Boxing Day after Saturday.