Wide draw for Lindsay Park pair in G2 Alister Clark Stakes

Barrier draws have not been kind for Lindsay Park three-year-olds Apulia and Rise At Dawn as they look to progress potential Derby campaigns at Moonee Valley.

The Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) on Saturday is seen as a fork in the road for the Ben, Will and J D Hayes-trained pair.

At stake is a possible start in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 6 or the stable may switch plans and head to the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 4.

Both gallopers have drawn wide with Apulia in 14 and Rise At Dawn in 15, but both can come in four positions if the emergencies do not gain a start.

Ben Hayes said the stable had been playing catch-up with Apulia after the colt missed a run in the lead-up to the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 2.

“We were chasing our tail a little bit going into the Guineas,” Hayes said.

“He had a minor set-back, a bit like Bold Bastille, and we ended up running in the Guineas first-up which wasn’t ideal.

“He got back, in a race that was hard to make ground, and we thought he hit the line well and he pulled-up nicely.

“I think he’ll improve and then we’ll make a decision whether we go to Sydney for the Derby or to Adelaide for their Derby.”

Apulia has had two starts at The Valley previously, finishing second over 1500m last September before later in the campaign winning the Group 2 Vase (2040m) on Cox Plate Day.

“I think it’s a nice step up for him, second-up out to the 2000 (metres) in a race that I think looks winnable,” Hayes said.

“I think he’s trained on a lot since his run in the Australian Guineas.”

Rise At Dawn is aiming to continue his unbeaten winning streak this campaign having scored wins at Pakenham and Moonee Valley in his only two outings this time in.

Hayes said a wide draw was no disadvantage for Rise At Dawn who will be having just his fifth race start on Saturday.

“He’s always had ability, but he’s been immature and taken time,” Hayes said.

“We’re throwing him in the deep end. The wide gate won’t be too bad for him because he’s got a really big stride on him, and he can roll forward.

“I think he’s more of an Adelaide horse than one to be going to Sydney, but we’ll see.”

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