ASTUTE horseman Craig Hayes hopes the APG connection can prove an omen in Sunday night’s Tasmania Derby in Hobart.
Hayes will contest the Blue Riband with impressive youngster Semowillrev, which is a graduate of the 2016 Australian Pacing Gold Sale.
Last season Hayes captured the Derby with rising star Scooterwillrev, which also joined his stable via the Melbourne APG sale ring in 2015.
“I have to admit I was a lot more confident with Scooterwillrev last year,” Hayes said. “With that in mind, he had things a little more his way than Semowillrev does.
“They both came out of the APG Sale, so maybe history can repeat itself.”
Boasting an imposing record of seven wins and a third from nine outings, the son of Sportswriter is the sole starter drawn along the second line.
“I expected him to draw out back as he hasn’t seen the front all year,” Hayes said. “Maybe I broke a mirror or something that I’m unaware of.
“It’s made it tougher on him against some quality opposition, but he’s ready to run a good race.
“I know he missed the placings for the first time last start when racing against the older horses, but I just don’t think he handled the rough, windy conditions too well.
“He seems well within himself and is working as good as ever, so now we’ll just hope for the best.”
Hayes rates Maraetai as the one to beat despite his outside of the front line draw.
Prepared by Victorian horsewoman Emma Stewart, Maraetai has been kept fresh since his unplaced performance in the New South Wales Derby six weeks ago.
Also an APG purchase, the colt won his two previous starts, which includes his Derby heat at Menangle.
“Maraetai is definitely the one to beat,” Hayes said. “He has been racing well in top company and no doubt Emma will have him in top shape.”