Hayes plans to Nic the Kingston Town
David Hayes is confident Niconero can land his second Kingston Town Classic and his third Group One success overall when he has his 50th career start at Ascot on Saturday.
The leading trainer has three runners in the 1800m weight-for-age feature, the others being The Fuzz and El Daana.
But he is particularly taken with the way Niconero has progressed in Perth.
“I don’t think we’ve had Nico as good as what he currently is for a long time,” Hayes said.
“His run (when fourth) in a stronger Railway this year was just as good as what his run in the Railway two years ago was (when third) and he’s trained on in probably the same form as when he won this race (in 2006).”
The Danzero seven-year-old is an old favourite of the Hayes stable having won 10 races and been placed another 10 times for more than $1.8 million in prizemoney.
Hayes races the gelding with long-time clients Peter Devitt and Les Gordon.
Niconero has raced 26 times in Group One events and landed his second win at that level in the Futurity Stakes (1600m) at Caulfield in March.
He has run five seconds, two thirds and four fourths at the highest level as well as competing in this year’s Dubai Duty Free (1777m).
“In Group Ones he’s always competitive,” Hayes said.
Hayes is also optimistic about El Daana but feels Saturday’s $500,000 feature is more of a stepping-stone for The Fuzz.
“She’s going extremely well for this race. She’s been set for it,” he said.
The Redoute’s Choice four-year-old mare is having her first start in Perth after being freshened up following encouraging runs when fourth to Forensics in the Group One Myer Classic (1600m) and third to Bird Of Fire in the Group Two Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week.
“The Fuzz is set for the Perth Cup. He’s going well but I’d probably follow him the start after this,” Hayes said.
The Danasinga six-year-old will run in the Group Two CB Cox Stakes (2100m) on December 17 on the way to the Group Two Perth Cup (2400m) on January 1.
By Mark Ryan