Crosshaven (Image: Racing Photos)
With no three-year-old currently occupying a spot in the top 10 places on The All-Star Mile leaderboard, co-trainer Ben Hayes is hoping his galloper Crosshaven can provide the x-factor into the $5 million race at The Valley on March 13.
Crosshaven resumed in last Saturday's Group 1 1 C.F. Orr Stakes, finishing third behind Streets Of Avalon, and the Lindsay Park team now faces the task of rallying the votes for the son of Smart Missile, who as of midday Thursday sat 14th on The All-Star Mile leaderboard.
"He is obviously very well credentialed, he is a horse who in my opinion other than Ole Kirk is one of the best-performing three-year-olds so far this season," Hayes said on Thursday.
"If Ole Kirk does not head that way, I think he is probably the obvious choice if he doesn't get in with the votes to be a wildcard.
"I thought it was a great run (in the C.F. Orr Stakes) he jumped well, sat just behind the pace and presented at the top of the straight and first time against the older horses really battled on well and was really strong through the line."
Crosshaven is expected to face the older horses again next start with the stable leaning to the $500,000 G1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 20 en route to the Australian Guineas, but not without a gear change up their sleeves.
"We are toying with the idea of putting blinkers on him," Hayes revealed.
"We will work him Monday morning in the blinkers and see how he goes but it might just give him those extra couple of lengths that he will need for the Futurity.
"The Futurity is going to be a blockbuster race, I think everyone has got the same idea, but I just feel he will really come on from his first-up effort."
Crosshaven is undefeated from two attempts second-up, with victories at The Valley and last campaign in the Listed Exford Plate.
Asked to provide his best pitch for those leaving their All-Star Mile vote to the final days, Hayes told a convincing tale.
"He will be fourth-up, rock-hard fit if he is able to get into the race and we really want him in," Hayes said.
"I think he is a really exciting horse, he raced so well during the spring and was unlucky in the Caulfield Guineas, he was wide the trip and battled on to finish fourth.
"His first run as a three-year-old against the older horses at weight-for-age was terrific and you will see he will improve into the Futurity."
Daniel Stackhouse is expected to maintain the ride on Crosshaven this preparation into the Australian Guineas and The All-Star Mile.
The Lindsay Park team has saddled up three runners in the two editions of The All-Star Mile, with Amphitrite and So Si Bon both finishing sixth.
The All-Star Mile leaderboard will go into blackout mode from 10pm (AEDT) on Friday night before voting closes at midnight on Sunday.