Hayes and Freedman to fight out the premiership
The powerful David Hayes stable has the numbers in its favour to peg back Lee Freedman’s slender lead in the Melbourne trainers’ premiership race at Sandown on Wednesday.
Both the Hayes and Freedman stables traditionally have a quiet time in June and July as they concentrate on readying their better horses for the spring.
Hayes, who landed his first Melbourne winner in six weeks when two-year-old Alkhafif won at Caulfield last Saturday, has seven runners in six races at Sandown.
He hadn’t had a city winner since Arms Wide Open at Flemington on June 6 which followed his double with Danever and Ballerina Girl at Sandown on June 3.
Freedman has been even quieter with his last winner in town being Gibraltar Moon at Flemington on June 6 and he has only one runner at Sandown, Mount Everest to be ridden by Luke Nolen in the Bore Head Hcp (1800m).
Freedman is currently on 20 outs in Melbourne but his tally of 64 winners with three meetings to go before the end of the season gives him a one-win lead over Hayes.
However Freedman, who is after his seventh title, may simply not have enough firepower to hold out Hayes who is chasing his eighth.
Hayes, who has four nominations for the Moonee Valley meeting on Saturday, has so far had 641 runners for the season in Melbourne, significantly more than Freedman’s 413.
Freedman’s only nomination for the Valley is Redoute’s Choice colt Finessed in the Two-Year-Old Handicap (1200m).
Rarely have both the trainers and jockeys’ premierships gone down to the wire but such is the case this season with Craig Williams and Damien Oliver locked on 68 wins.
Both champion riders have seven mounts on Wednesday.
Oliver, after his eighth title, will ride the Hayes-trained Allied Force in the Betfair Hcp (1000m) while Williams, trying for his fourth straight premiership, is on three Hayes horses.
They are Hukba in the Boardwalk Angel Hcp (1400m), Forays in the Dark Purple Hcp (1000m) and Ponte De Lima in the John Ritchie Hcp (1300m).
The Mitty’s Rising Stars Series Final (1720m), for apprentices who still claim in the metropolitan area, will have little consequence as Brenton Avdulla already has it stitched up with a 26-point lead over Billy Egan.
Egan has been sidelined for two months following a trackwork fall at Flemington.
Avdulla, 18, has been driven to succeed following the death of his mother Marlene last October and has ridden 83 winners in Victoria so far this season.
He is second on the Victorian apprentices’ list behind Nick Hall who has ridden 99 winners throughout the state.
Avdulla has ridden 23 winners in Melbourne placing him fourth in the apprentice ranks behind Hall and Dean Holland on 32 wins and Ibriham Gundogdu on 28.
By Mark Ryan