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Harlem springs Cup shock to give Hayes empire a red-letter day

10 March 2018 12:33 PM
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Ben Hayes, the trainer's son and the youngest member of the partnership, was buzzing after $61 chance Harlem, a French import who was bought to be a Melbourne Cup contender, succeeded.

The father-and-son team were almost as delighted with the return to form of their other runner, the English import Ventura Storm. He was also unfancied, going off at $31, but he ran a slashing third, half a length and three quarters of a length behind his stablemate and the runner up, $2.60 favourite Gailo Chop, from the Darren Weir yard.

Hayes junior paid tribute to the ride by Walker. The Kiwi had been closely associated with the stable for a couple of seasons before injury curtailed his career and kept him on the sidelines for some time.

Walker scored an upset win in the Caulfield Guineas aboard $101 shot Mighty Boss in the spring. This wasn't quite as big a shock – but almost.

''He's been very lucky for us, he's won this race before on Spillway,'' Ben Hayes said.

A gelding operation has changed things completely for Harlem, who started his spring preparation last year with a good win at Caulfield before falling away afterwards.

''He was a colt, but gelding has really done the trick, pre-race he used to get really worked up,'' Ben Hayes explained.

''Walker was just outstanding – he found the fast track and he got the money.


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