Training partners Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes are keen to make an impact at their first Magic Millions sales together

Lindsay Park trainers Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig face another testing moment when the pair prepare to do battle at this week’s Magic Millions yearling sale on the Gold Coast.

The Magic Millions sale will be one of the first for the partnership since senior member David Hayes departed for Hong Kong at the end of last season, and huge amounts are at stake for the duo in the first months of 2021.

Last year Lindsay Park spent almost $8 million on yearlings at various sales around the country and in New Zealand and Dabernig said the overall strategy won’t change too much this time around, but the team has brought in an additional member to replace Hayes senior, who is currently midway through the Hong Kong season.

“We’ve got Andy Williams, who’s a bloodstock agent, and Dean Hawthorne, they’ve had a look at the catalogue for us and they knock up a bit of a list of about 100 or so possibilities (to buy),” Dabernig said.

“It will be a similar format to other years. Andy has been with us for a few years now but it’s the first year we’ve used Dean. I think together, they’ll do very well.”

But Dabernig said the family eye for a yearling had reached a third generation, starting with his grandfather, the original Lindsay Park master trainer Colin Hayes.

“It’s a personal sort of thing but I guess through grandfather, uncles and now grandsons, all our eyes have been trained similarly,” Dabernig said.

“I probably haven’t got as expensive tastes as David so I prefer to shop around a bit cheaper but while I absolutely love a two-year-old, my real passion is a three-year-old type.”

Dabernig said it was difficult to predict how much Lindsay Park would need to spend to secure the type of horse it requires during Australia’s yearling sales this year.

He said it was important to buy a variety of youngsters that would be attractive to a broad spectrum of the stable’s existing and hopefully new clients.

“You’ve got to cater for what’s out there with different breeds and breeders,” Dabernig said.

“There’s often horses that you didn’t go there intending to buy that you end up getting at the sale and they can turn out to be your best ones.”

Buying the yearlings is one part of the annual process.

The responsibility to find owners for the young horses becomes a big team effort from the trainers and Lindsay Park’s commercial staff.

But Dabernig was buoyed by the loyalty of owners during the tough COVID-19 peak in 2020.

“It’s an interesting year with how Covid will affect sales but I’ve found his year, all the horses we’ve bought have been selling, so that’s a positive,” Dabernig said.

“Owners, as we all know, can come and go sometimes but we’re still training for some that were CS’s (Colin Hayes’) clients and that’s terrific.”

The 2021 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale starts on Tuesday.

Originally published asNew era begins for Lindsay Park at Magic Millions

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