Hayes expects improved run from Seaburge

Seaburge and Ben Hayes
Co-trainer Ben Hayes with Seaburge, one of two Lindsay Park runners in the Makybe Diva Stakes.

Seaburge is one of the outsiders for the Makybe Diva Stakes but trainer David Hayes expects the four-year-old to run better than his price suggests.

The Lindsay Park stable has two runners in Saturday’s Group One 1600m-race at Flemington with Seaburge joined by Melbourne Cup hope Ventura Storm.

Seaburge is the only runner in the 12-horse field yet to win a Group One race but he has gone close twice.

Hayes anticipates an improved showing on Memsie Stakes run when he went back to last from a wide barrier and finished at the tail of the field in a race dominated on-speed by stablemate Vega Magic.

Seaburge is at $51, with Godolphin’s star Hartnell the $1.80 favourite ahead of Black Heart Bart at $5.50.

“It’s hard to see anything beating Hartnell but I could see him running a place,” Hayes said.

“He’s got a better barrier this time so he might settle midfield or even a bit closer.

“He might run a lot better than people think.

“His final gallop was superb and I think he’ll step up in it.

“Whether he can beat the top two, that’s to be seen because they are very good horses. But I’d be disappointed if he’s not peppering the goals.”

Seaburge has not won since the Group Two VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes as a two-year-old but was runner-up in the Group One Caulfield Guineas and Emirates Stakes last spring, before being unplaced in three autumn starts.

“I know he’s got a big race in him,” Hayes said.

Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, is aiming import Ventura Storm at the Melbourne Cup (3200m) and hasn’t ruled out the Caulfield Cup.

“I would say he’s our number one seed (for the Melbourne Cup),” Hayes said.

Ventura Storm won a 2400m-Group One race in Italy last October after his second in the English St Leger.

He finished midfield in the Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) two weeks ago at his second Australian start.

“We’re just getting the miles into his legs,” Hayes said.

“We have low expectations this week. He’s running at probably half his distance. I’d be watching out for him when he gets beyond 2000 metres but I’m really happy how he’s progressing towards the Melbourne Cup.

“There’s no pressure on him because he’s qualified and in the Cup. So we just have to get him in form by late October.”

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