Luna Cat laps up Sandown win

Days after welcoming their latest addition to the Lindsay Park establishment, trainers Ben, Will and J D Hayes were in the winner’s circle at Sandown.

“Will became a father to a little boy, sometime late Sunday night or Monday morning, I’m not quite sure what time,” eldest of the three brothers Ben Hayes said as he waited for Luna Cat to return after winning the Sportsbet Photo Finish Refund Handicap (1000m) on Wednesday.

The win of Luna Cat has made the Lindsay Park trainers instant fans of the new benchmark 74 races that were introduced last month by Racing Victoria.

Luna Cat carried topweight on 61kg in Wednesday’s victory, which was a rise of 3.5kg on the weight she carried when a first-up sixth in a benchmark 78 race at Caulfield on June 1.

“When you have those 70 to 78 rated horses, it’s an awkward rating, but when you have a 74 race, like today, you can run as the topweight and not be too penalised,” Hayes said.

“I love them, so keep them going and it’s a big thrill to see her back.

“We were a little bit surprised first-up. She had trialled up well but then ran a little flat, so we put the winkers on her today.

“We were lucky, the runs came at the right time, but it was a great ride by Luke.

“When she’s at her best, she’s a good Saturday city class horse, so it’s nice to get this win today.”

Ridden by Luke Currie, Luna Cat ($14 in betting) scored a long head win from Kiko ($4) with I Choose You ($11) a further three-quarters-of-a-length away third.

Luna Cat has now won five of her 24 starts and is still searching for her maiden city win, which Hayes said may be achievable during the winter months.

“She’s a pretty unique type of horse,” Hayes said.

“She’s got a turn of foot, so I was a bit worried when she was held up, but she took the gap and was too strong to the line.”

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