By Ray Hickson
Champion jockey Kerrin McEvoy is an avid video watcher when it comes to doing his form and he’s been working overtime to prepare for his eight rides at Royal Randwick.
With mounts rated $2.70, $5.00, $10, $3.80 fav, $4.00, $5.50, $5.00 and $10 on Saturday he’ll be carrying the hopes of a lot of punters – not to mention having a couple of warm favourites at Canterbury.
Among his rides are Villiers second favourite Mister Sea Wolf, the promising Calculated and the progressive mare Sugar Bella.
As accomplished a jockey as McEvoy is, the reigning Everest winning rider said it’s important he’s up to date on not only the horses he’s riding, especially if he’s unfamiliar with them, but the opposition.
“You can gain a lot of knowledge watching their trials and their runs,’’ McEvoy said.
“I'll watch the videos of my horse and all the ones I'm riding against.
“That's the way I like to prepare and I do the same for a Derby Day as I would for a Canterbury night meeting.’’
The process takes McEvoy around 15-20 minutes a race depending on the field size.
He revealed he also likes to come up with an idea of how a race is likely to unfold and pays attention – again particularly if he hasn’t been on their backs lately - to how a horse feels on the way to the gates.
“You have to go there with an open mind as well because anything can happen,’’ he said.
“You don't want to get too structured in the way you think.’’
McEvoy took advantage of the chance to get to know Chris Waller’s import Mister Sea Wolf ahead of the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) - a race he hasn't added to the CV yet - by heading out to Rosehill on Tuesday morning.
Mister Sea Wolf, the $5.50 second favourite, made his Australian debut with an eye-catching second in the Group 3 Festival Stakes two weeks ago.
“He's come through the run really well and he put in a nice piece of work on Tuesday morning,’’ McEvoy said.
“I just have to offset a bit of a wide barrier. He looks as though he's a midfield type of runner, hopefully there's nice speed in the race.
“His first-up run shows he's here in good order and that gives you confidence going into the race second-up.’’
Mister Sea Wolf runs a close second in the Festival Stakes at Rosehill - December 2
Lightly raced three-year-old Calculated hasn’t produced his best on the two occasions McEvoy has been in the saddle and he resumes in the ANZ Bloodstock News Handicap (1100m).
The colt beat Brave Song, a horse McEvoy was keen on for Friday night, first-up last preparation and has had two trials to be fit for a first-up run.
“I've always liked him, he was too keen for me in the Up and Coming,’’ he said.
“He's drawn a better barrier and at 1100m and you'd like to think he can get into a nice rhythm and be strong late.
“He beat Brave Song who is a handy horse and his Siege Of Quebec form is nice form as well.’’
Here’s some comments from McEvoy about some of his other rides at Royal Randwick.
Cosimo ($10, race 4): He would have improved with that first-up run and is a good each-way chance I think. The blinkers could bring a little bit of improvement, it looks as though he was emptying a bit in the last 100m the other day.
Sugar Bella ($3.80, race 5): I was really taken with her wins last prep and she came back and looked a dominant winner last time. She can sit behind a nice speed and have a good kick. She’s still liming her way up the ratings and I think there is more to come from her.
Dreamforce ($4, race 6): He had a dream run in front last time and we couldn’t get near him once he kicked for home. He looks the leader again and there’s no reason why he can’t put up a good performance.
Calanda ($5, race 8): he ran well down the straight with me at Flemington bringing home the field on the inside on his own. He’s got a nice weight on his back and I think he will run very well.
Level Eight ($10, race 9): I was pleased that Peter put the blinkers on him because I reckon it helps him concentrate that bi better. He’s a midfield type of hose and there looks to be okay speed. He’s another that has a good each-way chance.