Big Red goes straight to the top with Hayes
DAVID Hayes described powerful sprinter Redkirk Warrior as the "best straight horse" he had trained in his long career when he won his second consecutive Newmarket handicap.
In a tight finish, Redkirk Warrior down the outside rail narrowly defeated two horses on the inside section of the track in Brave Smash and Merchant Navy in what was a truly memorable Newmarket.
It was a history-making win by the former English and Hong Kong middle-distance galloper, who has been transformed into a sprinting star in nine starts since he joined the team of Hayes, his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig.
Redkirk Warrior has now had five starts down the Flemington straight for wins in the Newmarket (twice), Lightning and Bobbie Lewis.
The former imported galloper created history on many fronts becoming the first horse to win consecutive Newmarket Handicaps and a Lightning Stakes as well in the history of racing.
He also became the first horse to win back-to-back Newmarket Handicaps since Razor Sharp in 1982 and 1983 and only the fourth horse to do so in the sprints 135-year history.
Correct (1960-61), Gothic (1927-28) and Aspen (1880-81) have also achieved the feat.
Only Black Caviar and Hay List have carried more weight in the past 30 years to win than Redkirk Warrior did on Saturday with 57.5kg.
His jockey Regan Bayliss, will turn 21 on Tuesday, said he felt blessed to be associated with such a horse as Redkirk Warrior.
"I've won three Group 1 races and they've all been on him. It's phenomenal. This is what you dream about as a kid," Bayliss said. "He keeps defying history this horse."
Bayliss, who begins a 24-meeting suspension on Sunday which was imposed for reckless riding eight days ago, said they "rolled the dice" going down the outside rail and leading yet he still proved too good.
Hayes suggested that the outside rail may still have been slower than the inside section which underlined the magnitude of Redkirk Warrior's win.
Hayes said they only decided to plot a course down the outside rail after the previous race as he couldn't win going down the middle of the track.
Hayes said Redkirk Warrior was a chance to return to England to run at Royal Ascot but then he added that he loved Lindsay Park so much.
Craig Williams, who rode Brave Smash, said his effort was outstanding to finish second.
"He's an exceptional sprinter. He won the race he was in down the inside section of the track," Williams said.
Chad Schofield, who rode third placegetter Merchant Navy, said his effort to run on and finish third was "outstanding".
"I looked around at the half way mark and saw Redkirk was a fair bit in front of us so I had to get moving early. He finished off superbly," Schofield said.