Kah pushes Harlem to second Australian Cup

3 min read

By Michael Cox

While others may be ducking and diving as they try to avoid a clash with Australia's most feared horse, trainer David Hayes admits Harlem (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) is on an unavoidable collision course with Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) after a second straight G1 Australian Cup.

"That Winx race," Hayes said of Harlem's ultimate target, referring to the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on April 13, the race earmarked as the career swansong for Winx. "We are going to Sydney for sure and we will try and go where Winx isn't. But they will end up in the Queen Elizabeth and he might face her before then even."

Hayes said the fact Harlem was able to win the race second up as a positive looking towards the middle-distance contests in Sydney, with the G1 Ranvet Stakes next in two weeks at Rosehill.

Following last year's Australian Cup win Harlem stepped up in trip to the G1 Tancred but after finishing unplaced, Hayes has elected to keep the gelding to shorter trips.

"He will definitely go to Sydney, he is coming right and he is only second up," Hayes said. "He is a good competitive horse, but better at 2000m than 2400m."

After winning at 60-1 last year, Harlem was again sent around an outsider in the high quality field, saluting at 30-1.

"Good horses on good days can step up, you just have to get them in form and you just need to perform and get good luck in running," Hayes said. "He is a real target horse and he goes well at Flemington."

"Good horses on good days can step up, you just have to get them in form." - David Hayes

Hayes saved special mention for Jamie Kah, who moved to Melbourne from Adelaide in January.

"That was a great ride by Jamie, he was drawn to get everything right and it was a huge thrill," he said. "She gave him an eleven out of ten ride."

It was Kah's first G1 victory and she rode a perfect race, slotting Harlem into the box seat from barrier four and then showing great strength and timing to get the 7-year-old's head down on the line.

"I came over here to seize opportunities, I didn't expect it so soon," Kah said.

Jamie Kah celebrates her first Group 1 victory

Hayes also announced that Harlem's owner Lee Man-bun had agreed to retire Redkirk Warrior (GB) (Notnowcato {GB}) after he finished unplaced in the G1 Newmarket Handicap earlier in the day.

The 8-year-old, who once started favourite in the HKG1 Hong Kong Derby, was aiming at what would have been a record third straight Newmarket Handicap.

Redkirk Warrior will head to Living Legends but it looks like Lee will be making some more trips from Hong Kong to Australia during the autumn.