A HORSE that was bred, born and raised on a small farm just outside of Yarram has entered the pantheon of Australia’s great sprinters by winning the Group One Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
It was Hey Doc’s second win in the $1 million feature event, returning from injury after taking the race in 2017 to claim its greatest ever victory, in track record time no less.
Ridden on the pace to perfection by Luke Currie, the result sparked celebrations at Inverloch, where breeder and part-owner Adrian Hall now resides, and also at Geelong where Adrian enjoyed the amazing moment with his brother.
“Look, it would have been great to be there, but it was a fantastic result,” said Adrian on Monday, after a weekend of celebrations.
“I got together with a few Tiger supporters back home in Inverloch on Sunday, so there was plenty to celebrate,” he said, acknowledging he’s a Collingwood fan himself.
“We were always going to look for a forward position in the race but Pippie had too much initial speed for us which allowed us to set up outside and have the first crack at them.”
It worked out perfectly but Hey Doc had to maintain a brutal speed throughout the running of the event, to get to the head of the field on turning and then to hold off the Godolphin-owned Trekking, which actually posted the fastest finishing sectionals.
“The first three all broke the track record which was pretty amazing,” said Adrian.
Hey Doc’s success in four Group One races is always tinged with a bit of sadness and disappointment for the Halls, that the horse’s mother, and favourite Hall-family mare, Heyington Honey, died up at Yarram after giving birth to ‘Dewy’ as they call the Doc.
“Gee, you’d love to have her now,” he said this week.
Adrian bred Hey Doc, out of ‘Heyington’, with his father and small-town racehorse trainer Brian Hall. The father-son combination sold the yearling for $85,000 with Adrian buying back in to enjoy the journey.
“There’s quite a big group of owners, six main ones and then a big syndicate but there’s always a crowd when he runs or should be.”
Seeing a racehorse, that you raised from a foal, reach these sorts of heights, must surely be one of the greatest thrills in racing.
And it may not stop there.
Hey Doc is entered in a feature sprint on the final day of the Flemington Spring Carnival, the VRC Sprint Classic on November 7 then, all going well, it’s across to Perth for the Winterbottom Stakes on November 28 where he’ll meet Trekking again. Trekking and Hey Doc are both former winners of the Ascot classic.
“He had a number of injuries between 2017 and coming back this year, including missing a trip to Dubai but, fingers crossed, he’s in great shape now and you never know.”
Adrian reflected on the irony that while he can’t go to the races under COVID-19 restrictions, the horse can go anywhere in Australia and even overseas to run.
Hey Doc has now won stakes money of $3,071,800 after adding $600,000 on Friday night.
“Dad trained a lot of horses but nothing like this. It’s just the luck of the draw.
But careful breeding and training plays a part too and some relatives of Hey Doc are now coming through the ranks so there’s hope another top sprinter emerges.
Locals’ race win just what the doctor ordered