Cheval De Vaga’s outstanding run of form has had a twofold effect on Gingin’s Meryl Hayley.
After four straight wins the financial rewards sit pretty, but the personal impact can’t be understated.
The six-year-olds’ unbeaten record for Hayley is a key confidence lift and equally as importantly has also helped soothe her way back into racing after a low point last year.
Hayley is back in the groove of racing and enjoying life as a trainer again after her world was turned upside down over a positive swab case.
Hayley was banned from racing for nine months before resuming and putting aside a trying period with Pick and Pay at Ascot last November.
The ups and downs of racing could have dampened Hayley’s enthusiasm for the sport, but she said time away had given her cause for reflection.
With the assistance of Cheval De Vaga, she turned what could have been a negative response into an ultimately positive outcome.
“I’ve come back with a fresh, positive attitude and it’s been really, really good,” Hayley told The Races WA.
“You reflect on everything really and basically it just reaffirmed my position and what I wanted to do.
“I’ve come back with a brighter attitude and refreshed and being away from it makes you miss it.
“I went away for six months cooking at a camp station in Mt Augustus, owned by Don Hammarquist, who I also train for.
“Obviously the break wasn’t ideal, but being away from it makes you miss it and I couldn’t wait to get back.
“I won’t say I didn’t love every minute of cooking at the station, but the change of scenery was great.
“You don’t get a chance to get a break when you are a trainer, the horses are seven days a week, 365 days a year, so if you want a holiday you have to plan it and be surrounded by good staff.
“Having an enforced break was sort of good in the long run and a break away from the industry to refresh my mind and soul.
“I knew where I wanted to be and it gave me a fresher approach to everything.
“Horses are my passion and I’m heavily invested, so onwards and upwards.”
Cheval De Vaga, on a two-year-lease to Hayley’s partner, Jamie Davies, is following Hayley’s positive approach and trajectory.
The Lope De Vega gelding had success previously for Sean and Jake Casey, but reached another peak at Ascot on Saturday.
Extending his undefeated sequence this campaign to four straight races and assisting jockey William Pike’s big day out, he won with authority.
Hayley underplays her role in Cheval De Vaga’s hot winning streak other than pointing to a change of stable environment and a smaller set up.
“It’s difficult to answer because I’ve had him only for four races and a trial, but he has exceeded my expectations,” Hayley said.
“We absolutely adore him and he is spoilt rotten.
“Sean and Kristy (Casey) are a big operation and have a lot of horses.
“I’ve got 10 horses in work and the only thing I can attribute to why he is going so well is because he’s in a small stable.
“There’s a lot of one on one attention.”
With winning form comes raised expectations, but Hayley says despite rising pressure she’s looking forward to Cheval De Vaga maintaining his superior form.
“He has to step up to the next grade now and will probably end up in a 72 + or something like that,” Hayley said.
“We’ll stick to the game plan and race him fortnightly.
“Every time we go out, he steps up to the plate and he’s taking it all in his stride.”