Third generation horseman Ben Hayes has arguably his best chance yet to join father David and grandfather Colin on the honour roll of Melbourne Cup winning trainers.
The younger Hayes works in partnership with his father and cousin Tom Dabernig with the trio chasing an inaugural Cup winner as a training team.
They will saddle up three runners in Tuesday’s showpiece including the highly fancied Constantinople.
David has won the Melbourne Cup in his own right with Jeune (1994), following in the footsteps of his father, the legendary Colin, who won with Beldale Ball in 1980 and At Talaq six years later.
Team Hayes and Dabernig have had Melbourne Cup runners every year since banding together in 2016 but all have started double-figure odds with their best result a sixth with Almoonquith three years ago.
In $8 second favourite Constantinople, that might be about to change.
With doubts over the availability of Glen Boss due to his pending appeal of a riding suspension, Hong Kong’s Joao Moreira was on Friday locked in for the Cup mount on Constantinople and a day later, the horse came up with a great draw in barrier seven.
“He’s got the right jockey and I think we’ve got the right conditions. Hopefully that converts to a good run,” Ben Hayes said.
“Everything would suggest he has come out of the Caulfield Cup in good order.
“I was really happy with his work here on Tuesday and he did his last final piece of work (Saturday) and he worked excellent. He’s ready to go.
“We’ve just got to keep him happy now.”
Like the past two winners of the race, Cross Counter and Rekindling, Constantinople is a three-year-old to northern hemisphere time.
He was strong at the end of 2400 metres when fourth to Japan’s Mer De Glace in the Caulfield Cup, a run the stable believes has taken the edge off his freshness.
Stablemate Rostropovich beat just two rivals in the Caulfield Cup but Ben Hayes warned punters to draw a line through the effort when nothing went the horse’s way.
“He missed the start, made a mid-race move and did a lot of work up the hill at Caulfield and when they do that they find it very hard to win,” Hayes said.
“We’re hoping for a big improvement.”
Neufbosc rounds out the Lindsay Park runners but faces a tough task from the second outside gate.
This year will be the final time David Hayes saddles up a Cup runner alongside his son and nephew.
The Hall Of Fame trainer has been granted a Hong Kong licence and will relocate next year, 14 years after prematurely ending his Asian tenure to return to Australia after the death of his brother Peter in a light plane crash.