Redkirk a saving grace for Bayliss
DAVID Hayes is confident Redkirk Warrior can lift the gloom around Regan Bayliss's 25-meeting ban as Lindsay Park prepares a formidable sprint arsenal for Saturday's Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.
Bayliss will start his suspension for reckless riding after Saturday and won't be eligible to return until April 2.
Hayes said straight-course specialist Redkirk Warrior could be the silver lining to Bayliss's abbreviated autumn, declaring the import had thrived since winning the Lightning Stakes last month.
"I reckon he's better (than when he mowed down Redzel)," Hayes said. "I reckon he'll be very hard to beat, but he's got to carry the weight (57.5kg) now. But, gee, he's a good horse."
Hayes will also saddle Catchy, Thronum, So Si Bon and Fastnet Tempest - with Derryn also a possibility for the Newmarket.
"(We're) fully loaded, fully loaded," he said. "We had the three (Thronum, Fastnet Tempest and So Si Bon) who trialled up the straight (at Flemington last week) and Derryn might run if it rains. Then (there's) Redkirk and Catchy, so maybe six."
Hayes said Australia Stakes winner Thronum had "trialled enormous" since his narrow second to Hartnell in the Orr Stakes, with third placegetter Brave Smash going on to win the Group 1 Futurity last week.
"So it's great form - after the trial he (jockey Mick Dee) said 'you wouldn't get me off with an axe'," he said.
Michael Walker will partner So Si Bon, while Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Cory Parish rides Blue Diamond winner Catchy.
Hayes will start Harlem and Ventura Storm in Saturday's Australian Cup.
Macedon Lodge will have three Australian Cup entrants - Almandin, Taj Mahal, Homesman.
All being well, the trio could join Saturday's Flemington winner Aloft in next month's Sydney Cup.