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Hay List calls off his Royal engagement
Hay List calls off his Royal engagement

John McNair is reluctant to take WA-owned sprinter Hay List to the Royal Ascot carnival this winter, preferring to wind up this preparation in Saturday's Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

The trainer said last Saturday week's clash with Black Caviar in the TJ Smith Stakes (1200m), where the wonder mare notched her 12th straight victory, was earmarked to be the hulking star's grand final.

But when Hay List pulled up well from the encounter and it was announced Black Caviar wouldn't run again in Sydney this autumn, McNair pushed ahead.

He had looked at the Goodwood Handicap (1200m) on May 8 but, with the likelihood of being unable to secure a direct flight from Sydney to Adelaide, that trip appears highly unlikely.

"I am not keen to go Royal Ascot," McNair said. "There are still eight weeks to go until the carnival and there are problems with going there, such as the risk of a long flight there and back home.

"It takes a lot out of a horse and I'd rather let him have a decent spell and come back with all of his injury problems fixed.

"The TJ Smith was going to be his last start, but he has been going so well that he deserves another shot at a Group 1."

Hay List landed his sole win at the elite level in the weight-for-age Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last spring. He has won 13 of 18 starts and was the bridesmaid to Black Caviar at his past two starts in Group 1 level at Flemington and Randwick this year.

Hay List missed last month's Newmarket Handicap because of a shoulder injury and suffered cuts and abrasions to his leg in the lead-up to last November's Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington.

McNair also has had to deal with a recurring problem of hoof soreness with the 620kg galloper.

Saturday's appearance will be his second over 1400m, having posted a 1¼ length win at Belmont Park in 2009 for original trainer Jim Taylor. "He has improved a lot on his last run and there is a lot more to his dynamics," McNair said.

Hay List's regular jockey Glyn Schofield will ride WA-owned mare Valentine Miss in the $350,000 Goodwood Handicap.

Valentine Miss and Shrapnel, who was scratched from last Saturday's The Galaxy, are likely to be leading Melbourne trainer Mark Kavanagh's starters in the Group 1 sprint.

Valentine Miss receives 53.5kg under the set-weight and penalty clauses of the Goodwood. She flew home for second to Streetcar Magic in last Saturday's McKay Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville.

"My regular jockeys are too heavy to ride her at that weight," Kavanagh said.

"She has improved out-of-sight since coming here."