After winning the past three Group 1 Australian Cups as “underdogs”, Ben Hayes has welcomed the expectations about Fifty Stars going back-to-back in the $1.5m autumn feature.
Lindsay Park has Fifty Stars primed for his bid to join stablemate Harlem (2018-19), one of only five horses in 158 years to defend an Australian Cup, on Saturday at Flemington.
Fifty Stars has shown Hayes nothing to suggest backing up from last Saturday’s slashing second placing behind Star Of The Seas in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) is anything but a positive.
“When I looked at him the next morning I actually got a bit of adrenaline,” Hayes said.
“All his work this week has been fantastic, he’s been acting like a two year old, the signs are good … he just needs to do it race day.”
Fifty Stars could not be better placed to join the likes of Vo Rogue (1989-90) and Craftsman (1965-66), striking one of the more even Australian Cups in recent times.
Fancied Paradee won the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes, a noted Australian Cup lead-up, with less than 1.8 lengths separating the first eight horses past the post.
“If he (Fifty Stars) wasn’t in the race it would be a very open race, obviously Group 1s are very hard to win and you’re never confident going in,” Hayes said.
“We feel we have him in the best condition we have had him going into a race, hopefully he can perform.”
Jockey John Allen completed a nice bit of work on Fifty Stars, who was runner-up to Arcadia Queen in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) last spring, at Flemington on Thursday.
Hayes has full confidence in the pair going into Saturday’s Group 1 target, despite an awkward inside draw.
“Three for him isn’t the best barrier, he’ll be buried and will be needing a bit of luck but normally good horses find luck,” Hayes said.
“Leave that to Johnny, hopefully he gets clear room … if he gets the run he’s the obvious horse to beat.”
Lindsay Park owns eight Australian Cups, second most behind Bart Cummings (13), from the late Colin Hayes (1974, 1979) to David Hayes (1991, 2009, 2015) and the partnership era (2018-20).
“I must say, (I’ve) been training four years and we’ve won the Australian Cup (three times) and quinalled (Super Saturday) as well with Redkirk Warrior (winning the 2018 Newmarket),” Hayes said.
“It is for the family, and Lindsay Park, a good day, especially the past three years.
“It would be a big thrill for Tom and I to be able to win the Australian Cup again, a fourth year in a row, it‘s something that doesn’t happen very often.
“We haven’t won it yet but we’ve got a very good chance and I’m sure both of them (Fifty Stars and Harlem) will run a race.”
Originally published asWill Stars align … again for Lindsay Park?
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