By Brad Gray
It’s seemingly mission impossible for the eight rival jockeys facing off against Hugh Bowman and Winx in the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), but that’s not going to stop Kerrin McEvoy plotting to collect a slice of the rich $4 million purse with Exospheric.
“You can’t do much different, you just have to go in attempting to give your horse every chance and ride them to their strengths and that’s what I’ll do on Saturday,” said McEvoy.
“We’ve drawn barrier 2 so we should get an economical run for the first part of the race and then be strong over the last part. It’s obviously Winx’s race to lose but the horse is well and you get some confidence knowing he is a weight-for-age horse.
“I’d like to be settling in front of her given the dynamic turn of foot she has got but it’s a weird position to be in because if she turns up, she blows us away but there is also a nice second place cheque there ($760,000) that I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a couple of times.”
Exospheric, like the rest of the field, was beaten by a space in The BMW by Jameka but co-trainer Lee Freedman has made it known that the five-year-old import prefers firmer surfaces so to see the Sydney sunshine is pleasing for McEvoy.
“He’s a horse that has come out here and hasn’t run a bad race. He put up a really good performance in the Caulfield Cup and wasn’t bad in the Melbourne Cup. His best run this term has been when he ran third in the Australian Cup. I’d like to see the ground drying out for him on Saturday but his work (on Tuesday) morning was quite sharp on his own and he is well within himself,” said McEvoy.
— The Championships (@ChampionshipsRR) April 4, 2017
McEvoy has a strong book of nine rides on Day 2 of The Championships including international Penglai Pavilion in the Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m), reuniting with the Godolphin yard.
“It’s great to be back on board for one for Charlie (Appleby) and Sheikh Mohammed. They put up a great performance with their runners in the spring and have earmarked this horse to bring out along with Polarisation,” said McEvoy.
“I’ve sat on him at Canterbury and he travelled out nicely and felt bright. Has he got the class of Francis Of Assisi, I’m not sure.
“His form looks a little bit in and out but he was a dominant leader and winner in the Cesarewitch Trial (over 3600m at Newmarket) which is a good handicap test over a distance. He galloped strongly and powered to the line so he stays the trip, handles cut in the ground and I wouldn’t be perturbed by the long break since his last run.”
McEvoy guided Foxplay to an outstanding win in the Phar Lap Stakes two runs ago and teams up again with the filly in the Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m).
“She got to come back to the mile but she has shown that she can run well over the trip.”