Friday, 29 January 2010
: Trainer David Hayes unveils possibly the classiest import to grace his stable when former UK star Our Aqaleem has his first Australian start at Flemington on Saturday.
A six-year-old by Sinndar, Our Aqaleem
will be having his first start since 2007 when he was rated one of the best of his age in the UK after finishing third in the 2007 English Derby won by Authorised.
The entire, who was purchased as a Melbourne Cup hope and future stud prospect , has raced just five times with his form as a 3YO also including a win the G3 Lingfield Derby Trial and a second to Yellowstone in the G3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
His long absence from racing has been the result of a suspensory ligament injury suffered after he raced in the Derby at Epsom.
Hayes said the stayer, who raced as Aqaleem in the UK, boasts the highest Timeform
rating of any overseas horse to enter his stable.
"He's likely to have a couple of starts before we set him for the spring,” said Hayes, a tried and successful program the Lindsay Park stable has applied to imports since the 1980s.
Meanwhile Hayes can only wait and hope that another of his top class imports, the English St Leger runner up Unsung Heroine, can recover from an injury and be prepared for a spring campaign.
Unsung Heroine suffered a tendon injury that became infected last spring after just one start for the Hayes stable.
Purchased from the UK for $2.4 million with the Melbourne Cup her goal, the mare was injured after racing in a 1700m event at Flemington in September.
She then contracted golden staph in the tendon and lost her mobility,
Changingoftheguard, the controversial race morning scratching from the Melbourne Cup in November, may make only a cameo appearance in the autumn.
Hayes said the former Irish stayer had problems acclimatising to Australian conditions.
"He's been trained out of the paddock and he'll continue like that,” Hayes said.