Colin Hayes: Champion Horse Racing Trainer

“If a horse becomes more beautiful in the course of his work, it is a sign that the training principles are correct.” Colonel Podhajsky. This quote is apt for champion trainer of thoroughbred racehorses, Colin Sidney Hayes (AM) (OBE), who has the credit of training 5,333 winners. Hayes obviously imparted the right training principles to bring home 28 Adelaide and 13 Melbourne Trainers’ Premierships.

In 1924, born in Sempaphore, South Australia, the passing away of his father when he was 10 years old, forced him to take up early employment becoming a boilermaker for the South Australian Electicity Trust. However, his keen interest in horse racing made him cough up £9 to buy a steeplechaser called Surefoot, in which Hayes’s had ridden as an amateur. One wonders if he gave it out as a good horse racing tip. Although his best placement was a third spot in the 1948 Great Eastern Steeplechase run at Oakbank, little did he know that it would spark the beginning of a long and glorious career as a trainer of thoroughbred horses and a long list of trophies including two Melbourne Cups in 1980 and 1986.

Colin Hayes was prompted by Surefoot to put his best foot forward and enlarge his business as a trainer, with the introduction of ‘Surefoot Lodge’, his first stable at Semaphore. Although this brought him his first trainer’s premiership in 1956, Hayes had bigger ambitions to breed winners and set up another stable 80 kilometers north-east of Adelaide, in Barossa Valley. His critics thought it to be a wrong move and considered the stable to be too far from the city area. However, the determined trainer formed a syndicate that purchased an 800-hectare property known as Lindsay Park. The land was conducive to raising horses with a very rich pasture and paddocks that were some of the best in the country. The Lindsay Park property included a 38-room mansion built from sandstone and marble quarried on the property, built in 1840.

The move to the Barossa Valley made Colin Hayes lose business from several horse owners thus reducing his stable from 40 horses to a mere 16. Undeterred by the loss, Hayes launched his first training session at Lindsay Park on 1 August 1970, a day which catapulted the trainer to fame which lasted for 30 years. Lindsay Park soon became the most successful breeding and training centers in Australian racing history.

Another day that Colin Hayes’s was never likely to forget was 23rd January 1982, where he managed to create a world record with 10 individual winners in a single day. Training for horses to win races became child’s play for Colin Hayes, a business that came with money, accolades and plenty of fame and success, making him a very sought after trainer, which was a big difference to his earlier beginnings at Barossa Valley.

The champion trainer’s incredible skills paid rich dividends with thoroughbreds such as Beldale Ball, who won the 1980 Melbourne Cup, and At Talaq, the formidable winner of the 1986 Melbourne Cup. Among the other thousands of fillies, colts, and geldings to be trained by the skilled hands of Colin Hayes is Rory’s Jester, winner of the 1985 Golden Slipper Stakes, and Dulcify, winner of the VRC Derby and AJC Derby. David and Peter, Colin’s sons, followed in his footsteps. Unfortunately, Peter Hayes died in a plane crash in 2001.

Source by K Cummings

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