Freshen up works for Rise At Dawn

Lindsay Park trainer Ben, Will and J D Hayes had Derby aspirations with Rise At Dawn (NZ), but they were equally as happy to come away with a narrow Flemington win. 

Rise At Dawn (NZ) was coming off a short break to claim the RDAV Mary Longden Mile (1600m) on Saturday, his first run since April. Ridden by apprentice Celine Gardner, Rise At Dawn ($5.50) held-off a late charge by the $3.50 favourite Craig to score by a nose, with Enxuto ($26) a further 4-¼ lengths away third. 

Ben Hayes said Rise At Dawn (NZ) had pulled-up with some issues when finishing last in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) at Morphettville on April 13. 

"He was a horse we were hoping to get to the South Australian Derby, but in the Port Adelaide Guineas he pulled up a bit sore," Hayes said. "We just thought we'd back off, keep him happy, and he responded really well. 

"He's a horse we have to manage and if we turned him out, he could have gone the wrong way, so it's good to have him bounce back as he's a horse we've always liked. 

"I think it's the right time of year for him and he loves wet tracks, even though it wasn't wet today. He's not the soundest horse, so for him to freshen up at the farm and do this, it's a good result for everyone." 

Hayes admitted that he, along with the majority of the ownership group of Rise At Dawn (NZ), had thought the runner-up Craig had scored a last stride win. He said it was nice when you are on the right side of photo finishes, especially when winning a good prizemoney race at Flemington. 

"Celine had him nice and relaxed in front, and I can't say she went too early because she won," Hayes said. "He gave a great kick. He freshened up fantastic and to win a race at Flemington, like this is exciting. 

"You could always see the other horse was going to attack late. I was holding my breath, there wasn't much cheering, and I wasn't sure. Those photos can go either way and today, our luck is in."