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Australian Racing: The Hayes Legacy

From humble origins as an amateur jockey, Colin Hayes built a racehorse empire in the Australian country. There he founded a dynasty that continues to be iconic in the racing industry over 50 years on.

23 years after the passing of Australian racing legend Colin Hayes, Lindsay Park Racing enter their third generation of Hayes trainers with grandsons Ben and JD Hayes taking the reins.

Success hasn’t eluded the Hayes family in the following two decades; it has blossomed. Since 1990, Colin’s son David Hayes has trained over 4,000 winners, including 95 Group 1 winners, the same amount as his late father.

JD said: “We’re third generation trainers and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the hard work of our grandfather Colin Hayes and our father David Hayes. What we have been able to inherit and train out of is the product of years and years of hard work from our family.”

David won the Melbourne and Adelaide Trainers’ Premierships in each of his first five seasons as Lindsay Park catapulted to the top of Australian Racing, at the end of the 1994-95 season David led the team to the Melbourne and Adelaide Trainers’ Premiership, totalling an incredible 31 Group 1 wins in one season.

A long stint training in Hong Kong followed where the honours continued to romp home, and in 2008 David became the youngest trainer ever to be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

David said: “Dad was an amateur jockey, by the looks of it not that good! He started out with just one horse and ended up becoming one of the legends of the turf.”

The Hayes have a saying in their family: “The future belongs to those who plan for it” – a philosophy that hasn’t faltered in the proceeding generations.

“I’ve really stuck to that motto, a lot of people thought I wasn’t ready when I started, but I did have Dad in the background and I think I would’ve trained with my father if partnerships had been around in those days,” said David.

In 2010, the dynasty uprooted from their facility in Angaston and relocated to Victoria, where they opened Lindsay Park Euroa, a state-of-the-art training centre in the Australian country.

The 1200-acre property features 96 stables, a horse swimming pool, a vet examination area and observation huts with electronic timing systems, among many other innovative facilities.

“Euroa is probably all the things Lindsay Park Angaston had, but with things you would do differently 40 years later, so it’s a lot more of a modern, state-of-the-art facility,” said David.

This modern thinking has paid dividends for the family as the third generation of Hayes trainers have taken on the mantle of training champions.

Ben and JD became Group 1-winning trainers within a year and the new partnership finished third in the Victorian Trainers' Premiership in its debut season.

Not that the brothers will be resting on their laurels anytime soon if they want to emulate the grand feats of their father and grandfather.

JD said: “As a long-term success we are hoping to be half as successful as CS and Dad. I think CS trained 5,300 winners, Dad on his first Derby Day trained six winners, so they’ve set the bar pretty high. With 115 winners in our first season I think we better get a wriggle on if we want to catch 5,000!”

The next generation of Hayes trainers are carving their own path however and perhaps measuring success in a different way in the modern world of horse racing.

Younger sister Sophie said: “Having the last name Hayes for the boys comes with a lot of expectation. For us, we’re going to define success differently, because it’s a different game to when Dad started.

“Success is keeping our clients and staff happy, success is fast horses and they will come if we keep our owners happy.”

Despite the weight of expectation on the young men, father David is already proud of what they have achieved in their short career.

David said: “One of my best moments in racing was watching the boys win at Doncaster. It’s a race Dad never won, it’s a race I never won and it was probably my proudest ever moment, because they placed the horse so cleverly.

“The Hayes family name in racing has been around a good part of 50 years and hopefully it’ll go for another 50. I’m sure Dad upstairs, who was the one who started it all, will be really proud to see his grandchildren following on with the legacy.”

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