Steve Moran

The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree….or, perhaps in this case, the ‘old’ tree.

Colin Sidney Hayes (1924-1999) was the master of statistics. Not only in creating incredible training and breeding records but quantifying and reciting them at will.

Tommy Smith, of course, understood the value of publicity and happily courted racing journalists. Bart (Cummings) was just Bart, extraordinarily known by his christian name alone, and confident his one liners would generate enough newspaper inches.

However, neither was quite as good as Hayes. I suspect that he had a better understanding of the fact that we (racing writers, that is) are fundamentally lazy and working to a deadline. Thus, if he wanted to trot out the statistics of how well the stable – or one of his stallions – was going we’d happily jot them down and weave them into the copy.

It was genius and a lesson few of his contemporaries, or those who followed, learned. But not his grandson it seems.

CS really was quite something. He didn’t train as many major race winners as his fellow legends Bart and Tommy but for his overall contribution to Australian racing and breeding, you could argue there’s been nobody more significant. He brought the world to Australian racing.

And his achievements were phenomenal. Hayes junior’s comments prompted me to look at the records again.

How about this? His best season was his last in 1989-1990 when he trained 278 winners, then a Commonwealth record, including 13 Group One winners and prize money just short of $10,000,000.

To win races at that aggregate of prize money, almost 30 years ago, was simply extraordinary. If we apply the price of the daily newspaper, or the Melbourne Cup purse, as the inflation index, then that would equate to around $30,000,000 now….using median house prices, as the barometer, it would be closer to $50,000,000.

By way of comparison, that would probably exceed Chris Waller’s $30,400,000 prize earnings last season and certainly top Darren Weir’s prize money total of $21,800,000.

Weir, incidentally, won last season’s Melbourne metropolitan premiership with 106 city winners. Hayes had 87 back in 1989-1990 when there were considerably fewer metropolitan meetings.

And you simply had to love the way he exited centre stage. Fresh from winning the 1989 Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) with Almaarad (Ela Mana Mou), he virtually handed the 1990 edition and a Japan Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) on a plate – with Better Loosen Up (Loosen Up) – to son David.

And speaking of stats, how about his world record of 30 individual winners with the first crop of the imported stallion Without Fear (Baldric) in 1975-76?

I wonder from how many live foals and which stallion has achieved something similar since? Email me… Remember the syllogism. Racing writers are lazy. Steve is a racing writer. Steve is lazy.

But nobody ever emails me. I’m seeking counselling. No, wait…Glenn Burrows, from Willow Park Stud, did to discuss our pattern system and I am going to get to that in the next few weeks as it is a bit of a dog’s breakfast.

Anyway, speaking of Hayes’ stats and black type; his remarkable record included training a world record ten city winners in a day (January 23, 1982), five Group One winners in a day (February 7, 1987), and six Group and listed winners in a day (September 12, 1987).

Hayes trained 524 stakes winners including 98 at Group One level.

Interestingly, that tally includes just one Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) – with Rory’s Jester (Crown Jester) in 1985. The same number as son David whose lone success came with Miss Finland (Redoute’s Choice) in 2006.

However, that may all change come Saturday with David Hayes four-pronged Slipper force headed by Catchy (Fasten Rock) and Tulip (Pierro) looking potent.

It’s another matter of minor Golden Slipper curiosity that neither Chris Waller nor Darren Weir has a runner. Of course, neither particularly focuses on juvenile racing. May the Lord help their rivals if they ever do.

As it stands, in city racing, David Hayes is the only trainer within cooee of Weir in Melbourne and only John O’Shea’s Godolphin army is remotely close to Waller in Sydney. Waller and Weir has each trained 99 metropolitan winners this season with three and a half months to go.

It’s especially scary in Melbourne where Weir’s 99 city wins and Hayes’ 77 combined is a tally one shy of the next 14 combined.

That’s a sort of dominance not even Hayes senior often enjoyed. I wonder when we might have our first draft or salary cap? The industry buys all the passed in yearlings (at the reserve of course) and allocates them to trainers at the bottom of the ladder. Hmm, could that bring a whole new meaning to ‘tanking’.