Friday, 3 August 2012
Trainer David Hayes is hoping his patience can be rewarded when classy sprinter Eagle Falls finally gets to the races at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Eagle Falls has been set to resume for the past month, only to have his prospects washed out by Melbourne's persistent rain.
But the prospect of a reasonable track at the Valley has made the trip to town for the William Martin Harvey Sprint (1000m) a good thing on Saturday.
"It's been frustrating not to be able to get him down to town, but it looks like we'll be there this week," said Hayes' assistant trainer Gary Fennessy.
"He's a quality horse, but he's up in the weight now so we hoped to pick up one of these races before the better horses arrive."
Eagle Falls hasn't started since finishing ninth in the Listed Hall Mark Stakes at Rosehill in April at the end of an autumn campaign that began on a high note with a first-up win in the Group Three Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield in February.
That victory made Hayes all the more keen to produce the gelding.
"He's a horse that loves racing fresh," Fennessy said.
"We've kept him that way while we've waited for the weather to improve."
Eagle Falls is a winner at Group One level in last year's Oakleigh Plate and has also won Group Two and Group Three races.
He's also been tried in Group One races in Singapore and Dubai, running respectable races both times.
"There's no doubt he's got some class, it's just a matter of finding the right races for him at this stage of his career," Fennessy said.
The stable will also use the meeting to gauge the future of the former European galloper Budai.
A winner at Group Three level in Germany, Budai was found to have breathing problems after his arrival in Australia and has undergone corrective surgery since he last raced in March.
"He was a very good horse over there, but he had a wind problem here, he wasn't getting enough air," Fennessy said.
"The operation seems to have worked and he could be an interesting runner."
Budai runs in the Belinda Jane Verco McLeod Mile (1600m).
While premier jockey Luke Nolen will be absent from the first city meeting of the new season, leading trainer Peter Moody will be out to keep the winners flowing.
As well as the favourite One Last Dance in the Harvey Sprint, Moody's six runners at the meeting include the well-fancied Planet Voyage in the Sportingbet Handicap (1200m) and Total Attraction in the Telstra PhoneWords Handicap (1200m).