David Hayes’ Hong Kong plans in limbo due to COVID-19

By Alex Mitchell

Legendary trainer David Hayes’ plans of a move to Hong Kong are in a degree of limbo as the impact of coronavirus continues to be felt across every sport.

Hayes, who runs the powerhouse stable Lindsay Park with nephew Tom Dabernig and son Ben Hayes, will return to Hong Kong to take up a training licence for the coming season, which begins in September, but the pandemic has wreaked havoc on his planning.

According to news service AAP, Hayes had planned to head to the foreign land this week to get the ball rolling, but the various self-isolation periods both countries have implemented made that impossible.

In Euroa on Monday, he said his first trip to Hong Kong would likely have to be a permanent one.

“I’m resigned to the fact that when I go, I’ll go and stay there because of the 14-day lock-down,” he said.

“I’m allowed to go because I’m a Hong Kong citizen, so I’ve got no problems going, but I don’t want to go and lock myself down for 14 days, stay there three or four days and then come back.

“I’d have to do another 14 days when I get back, so what I’ll be doing is a lot of my stuff preparing for the move over the computer and on the phone before I get there. And when I do decide to go I might go a little earlier.”

The Hayes camp has just the one runner in Sydney this weekend, but two-year-old colt Azaly is an emergency for the group three Baillieu Handicap.

But as The Championships continue in NSW, and the yearling sales approach, Hayes acknowledged the possibility he might have to set up camp over the border should the gates shut.

“They’ll give us some warning and when they do I’ll go up to Sydney and base myself there for the sales and the racing,” he said.

“Tom and Ben would run the show down here.”