By Brad Gray
The Chris Waller stable is confident that Egg Tart will take her place in the $1,000,000 TAB Epsom Handicap (1600m) on Saturday after a vet inspection revealed that the mare has an eye irritation.
Stable representative Charlie Duckworth was on hand at Tuesday morning’s barrier draw at Royal Randwick to see her draw the inside marble before telling media that Egg Tart hasn’t missed any work.
“Eyes are very sensitive but it also means they are incredibly quick to heal. The turnaround we saw from Thursday last week to Friday was incredible. We have another 96 hours until the race and I’m sure it won’t be an issue at all. If it had been, we wouldn’t have accepted,” Duckworth said.
“She’ll go around from a good barrier with a good jockey. She galloped this morning and galloped at Rosehill on Saturday. She hasn’t missed a single day.”
Egg Tart is on the second line of betting in the Epsom at $5 with TAB Fixed Odds, behind only Happy Clapper who has been supported from $4.50 into $3.60 since drawing barrier 4.
“This has always been the target and it’s the exact same route as Winx, even down to the exhibition gallop a week before. It didn’t cause Winx any issues and from memory she didn’t draw as well as Egg Tart,” said Duckworth.
“It makes life hard comparing those two but we certainly hold her in high regard as everyone should after last campaign.”
Kerrin McEvoy said that the four-year-old has come on from her first up run in the Theo Marks Stakes behind Everest contender Deploy, before revealing what his plan of attack will be from barrier 1.
“She is pretty easy to ride and push button. She can be midfield from there and she has a good turn of foot when you ask her,” said McEvoy.
“Hopefully she can be slicing through them when she needs to be. Her finishing effort was good and Deploy was running pretty swift time on a firm track. This is a better trip for her and she is a smart mare. She is playing against the big boys now so she has to bring her A-game but I’m looking forward to riding her that’s for sure.”
Meanwhile, Duckworth revealed that Glen Boss will be reunited with Tom Melbourne in the Epsom, having ridden him in three of his four Australian wins. The maligned seven-year-old drew barrier 13 of 14.
“From the barrier we are going to have to ride him conservatively. Had he not fired up in the first 100 metres in his last start he would have near enough won. He just burnt a few too many carrots early. Providing he switches off, the mile won’t be an issue and he’ll run home strong,’ Duckworth said.
“He came to us with a lot of gear. They’d tried pretty much everything to try and tame the beast as it were. Chris just thought we’d bring it back to basics and take everything off him. Let him be a horse and we’re lucky we have a lot of good riders who spend a lot of extra time with the horses. We have taken him to the beach which is his recovery from his work. It helps him relax and mentally get in a good space.”
Comin’ Through and Foxplay didn’t fare much better than Tom Melbourne, drawing 12 and 14 respectively while McCreery drew barrier 7 with Tommy Berry to steer.
“We have taken blinkers off (Comin’ Through) and put visors on. We galloped him in the visors and when he was challenged in the straight he really surged forward. With the weight, he is a live chance,” Duckworth said of the last start winner who will be ridden by Joao Moreira.
“Foxplay was only beaten narrowly by Winx and I know that took a lot out of her but she has bounced back from that as we’ve seen and she is a very good mare. The barrier just makes it hard but Hughie is the right man not to panic.
“From the barrier and with the weight, you’d have to think Egg Tart was the best chance (of the five) but it’s whether the mile will be a touch short for her given her Group One form is beyond that.”