A True Aussie Icon of the Racing Industry.
In my role as a Racing journalist I have interviewed most of Australia's biggest names in Racing and it was my pleasure to interview Peter Hayes shortly after he took over the role left vacant by his brother David Hayes on his departure to greener pastures i.e. Hong Kong.
The Hayes establishment is a well orchestrated training and Racing stable and is just one part of a larger organization which includes all aspects from breeding right through to the stranglehold that they have on Australian Racing. The establishment will continue but without the guiding hand of this gentle horseman.
Peter Hayes was just that, a gentle person whose role in the organisation was somewhat thrust upon him. Up until that time he was happy to work on his own and leave younger brother David to handle the "family " business. The question was being asked "Was Peter Hayes up to the task?" well, up to it he was with the trophies and the accolades flowing as the business that is "the Hayes Stable" continued to flourish and expand.
My personal experience was that Peter was always ready to help with a story and it was never too much trouble to talk about the stable's prospects for that year's Melbourne Cup, the hopes for Guinea's success and so on and if it was a matter of last week's winner of a maiden in country South Australia, that was handled exactly the same way. As most would know, Racing journalists are not necessarily on every trainer's birthday list, some are downright unfriendly. Peter was simply happy to talk and promote the business that was his livelihood.
If there was one thing in particular that Peter disliked about his involvement in the business was the loss of opportunity to participate in his favourite past time.. flying. And when Sunday Racing became entrenched? Well Peter did tell me one of the advantages of having runners at country meetings. It gave him the opportunity to fly there. So in the end he died participating in his own favourite pastime, is that such a tragedy?
In Racing there will always be another up and coming trainer, people like John Size whom I met when success was yet to find him, Tony Noonan, now firmly established as one of the most consistent trainers in Victoria but I don't believe we will see another Peter Hayes. Yes we will see ambitious trainers wanting to make a name for themselves and good luck to them. In Peter's case the mantle was thrust upon him and he accepted it with good grace.
It was good knowing you Peter, Rest in Peace.