At 25 years of age, Ben Hayes, the eldest son of David Hayes and grandson of the legendary Colin Hayes has joined his father and uncle Tom Dabernig under the famous Lindsay Park Racing banner. Having represented the stable last Saturday at The Valley when training a double, we caught up with Ben to discuss how he is adjusting to the new role.
The Hayes name is racing royalty, but for a fleeting moment there was every chance a young Ben Hayes might have turned in the stopwatch and binoculars for a Sherrin and football boots and hoped to make it famous in AFL circles instead.
Having completed a Bachelor of Business, racing eventually won over and Ben started building his CV in an equine capacity. Having gone to work under Charlie Hills and John Gosden in Europe, Ben, who first started riding trackwork at 16 years of age, was invited to join one of Australia’s richest training dynasties at the start of the 2016/17 racing season.
“You don’t realise how much you are learning when your there but when you come home and take it in it was really invaluable – as was travelling Criterion around the globe,” says Hayes.
“I’m still learning everyday – it all happened so quickly but I’m taking it in my stride and finding it very exciting”.
His grandfather, the late great C.S. Hayes, is synonymous with racing in South Australia. Based in Angaston, he won 28 Adelaide Trainers’ Premierships from his base and enjoyed over 5,000 winners. Ben, who now resides in Adelaide, looks after a team of up to 20 horses and is climbing the premiership table, currently sitting inside the Top 10 on the trainer’s chart.
“I get plenty of leeway when I’m in Adelaide, but when I’m back in Melbourne in the quieter periods such as last weekend, Dad keeps a watchful eye on what I’m doing”.
Whatever he was doing, David would suggest he keeps doing it! Lindsay Park trained a double at The Valley last Saturday when Hell or Highwater and Boom Time both saluted -paying a lazy $79.60 for the running double.
“We love racing at ‘Money Valley’ as we call it when the horses are winning – the track races nice and fair and it helps when you’ve got a horse who can handle tight track and corner really well”.
Hayes should know what it takes, The Valley is one of many venues that fills the trophy cabinets at the newly established Lindsay Park in Euroa. Their name is etched into the W.S. Cox Plate honour roll on five occasions – Colin three times (So Called – 1977, Dulcify – 1978, Almaarad – 1989) and David on two occasions (Better Loosen Up – 1990, Fields of Omagh – 2006).
“I was very young when Better Loosen Up won, but I remember Fields of Omagh like it was yesterday, sitting next to Dad in the grandstand – he was such a tough horse and just loved that race”.
Many champions have walked through the stable barn doors of Lindsay Park and while he remembers fondly the photos of past champions in the family homestead – during his time two stand ahead of the rest.
“It’s hard not to love Fields of Omagh, while to do what Miss Finland did and win a Golden Slipper and a VRC Oaks made her very special”
As for their next champion?
“Madeenaty is being set for the Magic Millions and looks a very exciting filly”
The Lindsay Park Racing team have six runners in tonight with the stable keen on Ballybrit in the Quest Moonee Valley Handicap and Bullish Stock taking on the “K” Line Australia Handicap.