Champion trainer David Hayes can see similarities between Hall Of Fame sprinter Manikito and Goodwood favourite Vega Magic.
Vega Magic has opened the early $2.70 favourite for Saturday’s Group I Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville and the Hall Of Fame trainer has sounded an ominous warning to his rivals.
Manikato started his career in 1978 and retired in 1983 to be just the second horse in history to finish with over $1 million in stakes after 29 wins, nine seconds and four thirds, highlighted by 11 Group I victories which included five successive William Reid Stakes and four Futurity Stakes.
While Vega Magic has a long way to go to achieve those lofty heights, Hayes believes the 2017 Goodwood winner is very much in the mould of the sprinting sensation.
“I keep seeing footage of the late Manikato and I just think his racing pattern is very much like him and he’s that type of horse; a big brute of a horse that’s very strong and his record is quite imposing as well,” Hayes told Sky Racing Radio.
“He doesn’t run badly very often and we expect a good run on Saturday.”
he son of Lope De Vega returns to racing after six months off the scene following a paddock incident during an electrical storm which saw him miss out on the autumn canrival but Hayes is confident the gelding is back to peak condition after his final piece of work at Flemington on Monday.
“Ben was there for his final gallop at Flemington and he was really happy with him,” Hayes said.
“We have just changed his environment like we did last year going into the race, we got him out to the country and he has tightened up nicely.
“I think he is well protected with the terms and conditions of the race and I’m sure he’ll run very, very well.”
While no runner is yet to go back-to-back in the in South Australia’s feature sprint, Hayes pointed out the stable has made a habit of rewriting the record books in recent history.
“There had never been a first-up winner until we ran in it last year and there had never been a first-up winner in a Newmarket until Redkirk (Warrior) did it,” he said.
“I can’t see any reason why he couldn’t win two.”
Hayes also revealed that there has been initial conversations with some of The Everest slot holders. Vega Magic finished second in the race’s innaugural running last year behind Redzel.
“The owner of Vega has been talking to some of the slot holders and I would say he would be a good horse to get, like last year,” he said.
Lindsay Park will also have last start William Reid Stakes runner-up Thronum line-up in the feature race.
The son of Snitzel will be flown down on a private charter from Brisbane to Adelaide on Tuesday night after he missed a start in the Group I Doomben 10,000 following an incident in the tie-up stalls.
“I thought the horse would have run a mighty race on Saturday, especially when Redzel didn’t run quite as well as expected,” Hayes said.
“Sun Stud were very keen to run him in the Goodwood and they paid the big dollars to charter a flight to get him down.
“I really feel he is going brilliantly.”