Suburban trainer Cooper Hayes is hoping home-track advantage will see in-form sprinter Bees And Honey pull off a ‘sting’ at The Meadows on Saturday afternoon.
Bees And Honey, one of only two race dogs in Hayes’ backyard Mill Park kennel, will face two sizeable hurdles in box six and Jason Thompson’s star speedster Zambora Smokey, a Group 1 Maturity finalist at The Meadows in July and TAB’s $1.40 favourite from box one.
Bees And Honey is on the third line of betting at $5.50.
“He won a heat and final at Sandown and then he was probably a bit disappointing last start but he gets back to The Meadows where he likes to be,” said Hayes.
“He’s got a good P.B. there (29.96s) and it looks like the track’s on fire after what Catch The Thief ran on Thursday (29.61s).
“But he’s not near the fence and there’s a bit of pace in the red with Zambora Smokey and Brendan Purcell’s dog (King I Am – box 5).
“The first section will tell the story. Hopefully he can bounce and find the front and if he does he’ll be hard to catch.
“If he gets a bit of luck to the first corner he’s a chance but I’m definitely not declaring him!”
Bees And Honey started off his career in promising fashion, winning three of his first four starts, before being stopped in his tracks by a career-threatening injury at the start of 2020.
“He’s still a young dog and I’m hoping his best is in front of him,” Hayes said.
“He did a bit early but then he injured a stopper tendon and we thought it might be career-ending. I just got him back slowly; he had about three and a half months off.
“He had a few good placings over 450m at Ballarat behind Who Told Stevie and Zambora Lou, which won the Healesville Cup last weekend, and then stepped back up to 500m.”
Hayes praises the training facilities at The Meadows and good old-fashioned leg work as being keys to his training routine.
“I’ve got Bees And Honey out in the backyard with old Spyglass, who’s just a Tier 3 battler,” Hayes said.
“I’m only about five kilometres from The Meadows so I use the straight track there and apart from that there’s plenty of street-walking!
“I’ve been training for about 12 years. I’d always had an interest in the dogs and after I stopped playing footy and the kids arrived we got into it and we’ve had a bit of luck and a lot of fun.
“We’ve had a few city winners but it would be nice to hear from you around Melbourne Cup time!” he added with a laugh.
Photo by Jason McKeown