By Ray Hickson
If classy youngster Oohood is the ‘best maiden in Australia’ then trainer Tony McEvoy is confident she can shake off that tag on Day 1 of The Championships at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The Golden Slipper runner-up has done nothing but please McEvoy since she made that late charge at Estijaab but fell agonisingly short, going under by a long head, on March 24.
“She’s put 5kg on since the Slipper, she’s really thriving,’’ McEvoy said.
“She bounced out of the race lovely and sound and she’s really happy. I gave her some striding work at Warwick Farm on Saturday and she’s going really well.
“She’ll just do some in hand work a couple of times this week, she doesn’t need to gallop again.’’
Estijaab and Sunlight, first and third in the Slipper, have finished their two-year-old campaigns leaving Oohood, with five placings from as many starts, as the number one youngster in training.
Oohood makes a late charge at Estijaab in the Golden Slipper at Rosehill Gardens
It’s been 12 years since a maiden won the Sires’, that being Excites in 2006 and it’s fair to say Oohood brings stronger credentials with placings in both the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper.
As the Golden Slipper runner-up Oohood is also aiming to emulate Yankee Rose who managed to go one better at Randwick two years ago and she’s the clear favourite with TAB at $4.60 prior to Tuesday’s acceptances.
McEvoy said the trip to Sydney has switched Oohood on no end and he expects the step up to 1400m will only be in her favour.
“I think she showed to me last start she’s arrived as a racehorse,’’ he said.
“In Melbourne he was making a lot of mistakes but she made no mistakes last week.’’
In reflecting on the Golden Slipper, where he also prepared third placed Sunlight, McEvoy is adamant the way the race was run brought both fillies undone.
Oohood ran the fastest last 200m of the Slipper, according to Punters Intel, of 11.72.
McEvoy said had Estijaab not been allowed to dictate the race the result would have been reversed.
“I thought Luke (Currie) handled up too early on Sunlight, he should have pressed up outside the leader who got too many easy fractions,’’ McEvoy said.
“Not only did it not give Sunlight her best chance it worked against Oohood as well. With a bit more pressure on the leader Oohood would have got past.
“Zac (Purton) said he thought he had (Estijaab) covered and it just had something in the locker because of those easy sections.”
Purton returns from Hong Kong to ride Oohood in the Sires and, as it happens, he also rode Yankee Rose to her Sires’ win in 2016 following the Slipper second placing.
McEvoy said the step to 1400m won’t see any drastic changes in Oohood’s race pattern but will allow her that extra time to stretch out.
“We’ll ride her exactly the same as we’ve always ridden her. I think she will really enjoy the 1400m, as a few of them will,’’ he said.