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Sometimes, all it takes is a win for a horse to snap out of its bad habits.
And Ben Hayes is confident that is the case with Aysar heading into the $1 million Sir Rupert Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The five-year-old recorded an impressive one-length victory last start in the Chautauqua Stakes over 1200m at Moonee Valley on September 3.
It was his first triumph since winning a Benchmark 64 Handicap over 1300m at Sandown on September 9, 2020.
Hayes knows his colt has plenty of ability, but says he has just been his own worst enemy at times.
Saturday’s $20 outsider with the top betting sites showed a developed mental toughness last start.
“He’s a real thinker, so we’ve been trying different things with him every run,” Hayes told HorseBetting.com.au.
“We’ve been seeing what works and what doesn’t.
“I also think he’s mentally matured a bit. His mannerism at the races were much better than other race meetings, and he was much more calm.
“So hopefully he’s more focused on racing. He’s got the ability to win a race like that (Chautauqua Stakes) – he’s been around the mark a lot.”
Hayes also believes Aysar can step up and match it in elite Group 1 company over 1400m on Saturday.
“Very hopeful. He was only beaten by a length in this race last year (finishing fourth),” he said.
“It was probably the best run he put in for us.
“In a high-pressure race like this one, which it looks like it will be, I think it’ll be ideal for him.
“He’s drawn a barrier (nine) where he should get a nice run out of trouble just behind the speed.
“And I can’t see why he won’t run well.
“He’s gained a lot of confidence from his win and his work has been great, so fingers crossed everything goes right.”
Hayes is hopeful of Aysar continuing through spring after Saturday if he runs well.
He also believes six-year-old mare Excelida can perform strongly in the $200,000 Neds How Now Stakes (1200m).
“We would continue with him (if Aysar steps up), but just do one race at a time,” he said.
“Very happy with Excelida. She’s trialed well. It’s a competitive race and I expect her to perform nicely.”