Awaywego and Speak The Truth have created history by becoming the first runners unveiled to contest The Hayden as part of the 2023 Queensland Constellations.
Awaywego has posted five Group wins across 35 starts in his career, including the 2021 Group 1 QBRED Triad Final – 2YO Colts and Geldings, amassing more than $150,000 in prize money and bonuses.
The four-year-old will take his spot in the inaugural running of the $231,000 The Hayden on July 15 at Albion Park, after totalbet.com.au purchased barrier six in the race via auction.
Slot holder Ben Krahe said he had jumped at the chance to secure a spot in the new event with Awaywego.
“Awaywego was one of two or three horses that we really liked and the owner is of the opinion, it’s going to be a better horse the older it gets,” Krahe said.
“With a good camp there, and we’re going to have the best driver probably in Queensland and one of the best in Australia in Pete McMullen – they really know how to get a horse ready.
“There’s a dime a dozen slot race these days and so Queensland had to do something to make it more interesting.
“The auction was fantastic and the concept was fantastic, in that you’re not buying a horse – you’re buying a draw.
“I just think this is something a little bit different and it’s really good obviously that everyone has to be QBRED, Queensland trained, and Queensland drivers.”
Talented rising star Speak The Truth has also been confirmed for The Hayden, with owners Raboki locking in the four-year-old after what has so far been a dominant return to the track.
After a 322-day spell, the pacer took out the Gold Bullion 4YO Mixed Sex Final at Albion on April 15 before backing it up two weeks later with a win at Menangle.
Trainer Shannon Price said a win in The Hayden to gain automatic entry into the $2.1 million TAB Eureka provided some added incentive to nominate Speak The Truth.
Awaywego will be out to create history as the inaugural winner of The Hayden.
“He fitted the criteria really good, and he’s a good enough horse to win it…we’ve got barrier 10 but that won’t worry him, that’s a good slot for him,” Price said.
“There’s a few horses coming back trialing at the moment and getting ready to race who will be his opposition, but so far I haven’t seen anything I’m too worried about.
“It’s really good prize money for QBRED horses – it’s a massive boost for them and it becomes a great race to win now with all the extra prize money.
“To win the Hayden and get an automatic entry into The Eureka, that would be the pinnacle.”
Racing Queensland Senior Racing Manager – Harness David Brick said he was pleased to see a strong field being built for The Hayden ahead of its debut.
“We are already seeing a lot of excitement building for this new race, and the confirmation of Awaywego and Speak The Truth will only add to that,” he said.
“With the slot auction at the Sunshine Stars Yearling Sale pushing the prize money above $230,000, and a win guaranteeing entry into the Eureka, we are expecting a high-quality race at Albion Park.
“We look forward to unveiling further acceptances as we draw closer to July 15, and continue to build towards the most exciting and innovative iteration of the Queensland Constellations yet.”
Eight Group 1s will be held over the seven weeks of the Constellations, with more than $3 million in prize money and bonuses up for grabs.
TAB has installed Speak The Truth as early favourite for The Hayden, with Awaywego currently on the fifth line of betting.
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