Star sprinter Hay List is ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery while his injured trainer John McNair's rehabilitation from several broken bones is taking longer than he would like.

McNair suffered broken vertebrae, a broken pelvis and more breaks to his right ankle and foot when a horse fell on him in early September and is looking at another couple of months before things return to some sort of normality.

"Hay List is well ahead of where they expected him to be," McNair said.

"He's had three knee surgeries but is progressing quickly.


"He's up to cantering and I hope we see him in the autumn.

"He'll bypass the Lightning and race in Sydney. I think he races better in this direction and the Challenge Stakes is a race I've picked to start off with.

"He's doing better than me. I thought I'd be right by now but will need a stick for a bit longer although the doctors tell me I am doing better than most."

Of more immediate interest, former Darwin trainer Stephen Brown hopes his second chance with Winter King will be more straightforward than the last.

Brown was confident of success with the 6-year-old at Moonee Valley in an open sprint race two weeks ago.

However, the barrier gates were opened early and Winter King leaped out and had to be scratched after he could not be pulled up. Now, though, Brown says his gelding has an ideal chance to put the incident behind him in the A$120,000 listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

"He's 100 per cent ready for it," he said. "I think this is the right sort of race for him. I don't think there's much in there that can beat him.

"I think he's a genuine group-type horse. He's run in some really nice races without winning."AAP