(Photo : JC Photographics)
“WEST IS BEST”
David Hayes is widely regarded as one of Australia’s best racehorse trainers. There was a time though, when he took a sabbatical to Hong Kong, and left the affairs of his family’s famous Lindsay Park training establishment in the hands of his old team. The explosive precocity of a son of Danehill during his absence, very nearly brought him back from Hong Kong to prepare the youngster for his tilt at the world’s richest race for two year olds, the Golden Slipper.
That horse was Way West, whose record-smashing bolt of lightening in the celebrated Blue Diamond Prelude (Gr.3), suggested he would be a major factor when the bookmakers chalked up for the “Slipper”. It wasn’t only the race record that stirred the belief in the Hayes veins that this was a legitimate candidate, it wasn’t only the fact he surpassed the time of, Alinghi, one of the best juvenile fillies Australia had seen in years. Rather, it was the way he did it, overcoming a mid-race stumble, and getting up from the floor to find another gear and beat the Group One performers, Oratorio and Sanzero.
And as if they were withholding their efforts in an attempt to ensure the handicappers’ memories would be fresh at the point of selection of the field for the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, on consecutive days of this weekend, Bussell and Nobukhosi put up their hands with impressive performances at Turffontein and Scottsville.
While the judges will still have the final say, it’s conceivable right now that Way West will be represented by four individual runners in the fourth richest race in the land. That’s twenty five percent of the field if they all get a run, some kind of achievement for a first season sire. All of Louis Goosen, Paul Matchett, Dominic Zaki, Chips Pennells and Duncan Howells will be rubbing their hands in anticipation of bigger things.
That’s not all though, John Vos has a live candidate going to the track this week, in the form of Shee’s Gone West, a filly with two seconds from two starts to date, and almost certainly to be ripe for the winner’s box. Is it possible Way West could have 30% of the line-up?