Blinkers can have Hayes doing Harlem shuffle after Caulfield Cup

Ben Dorries - Wednesday October 18

David Hayes used winkers on imported stayer Harlem to qualify him for the Caulfield Cup and now he has put the blinkers on to win Saturday's big dance.

David Hayes thinks the addition of blinkers will give him every chance of doing the Harlem Shuffle after the Caulfield Cup Photo: Darryl Sherer

Hayes has a quartet of Caulfield Cup runners with top fancies Harlem ($11) and Ventura Storm ($12), roughie Boom Time ($51) and rank outsider He's Our Rokkii ($126).

The Hall Of Fame trainer, who trains in partnership with son Ben and Tom Dabernig, says top hopes Harlem and Ventura Storm have enjoyed "the perfect Caulfield Cup preparation."

Hayes feels British-bred Harlem, who qualified for the Caulfield Cup with a convincing win in the Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last month, will improve sharply with blinkers on for the first time.

Harlem was beaten almost four lengths by fellow Caulfield Cup contender Amelie's Star in a brutal The Bart Cummings (2500m) but Hayes feels it was just the tonic to top off the stayer for the Caulfield Cup.

Former Australia-based hoop Chad Schofield flies in from Hong Kong to take the ride on Harlem.

"I put the winkers on to qualify him and I've put the blinkers on to win (the Caulfield Cup)," Hayes said.

"The thing about blinkers with English colts, with the spring Melbourne air, the blinkers keep them focused and you get the couple of extra lengths out of them you need.

"Harlem had to qualify for the Caulfield Cup and he did it brilliantly.

"Then he raced in the hardest-run mile and a half race I've just about ever seen in The Bart Cummings.

"It sorted out him and the Melbourne Cup winner (Almandin) but it was probably just what he needed."

Hayes was overjoyed with the Caulfield Cup barrier draw, which saw three of his runners suited when Harlem drew barrier one, Ventura Storm barrier four and Boom Time barrier three.

Hayes feels it is a "flip of the coin'' as to which is his best Caulfield Cup chance out of Harlem and Ventura Storm.

Ventura Storm, to be ridden by Damien Oliver on Saturday, is a Group I 2400m winner in Italy, which qualified the import for the Caulfield Cup.

Hayes says he has been able to take a softly-softly approach with Ventura Storm, who is yet to win a race in Australia, to enable him to peak for the Caulfield Cup.

"Both Harlem and Ventura Storm have had what I would call the perfect Caulfield Cup preparations," Hayes said.

"Ventura Storm has been qualified for the Cup for a while now so we haven't put him under too much pressure until now.

"I would say he will win plenty of Australian races but he was qualified for the Caulfield Cup so I didn't have to peak him early.

"That is a big advantage."

Hayes owns roughie Boom Time and was delighted to give hard-working jockey Cory Parish the ride.

"Cory rides most of my work at Lindsay Park and I was very happy to give him an opportunity," Hayes said.

"There were no politics with the ride with me owning the horse.

"Boom Time is a horse with a light weight (52kg) and will box seat the whole way from the barrier.

"Those sort of horses often weigh in don't they? I hope it happens for Cory but more for me (as an owner)."

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