By Tony Megahey
A heart-felt text message from Kerrin McEvoy to rising young trainer Cameron Crockett is the catalyst for them combining for the first time at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
“You know when my dad Max passed away, Kerrin sent me a condolence message. I was just blown away,” Cameron explained.
“Kerrin apparently met a mate of dad’s after reading about his passing and dad’s racing achievements.
“Because Dad and I were based at Mudgee, he never rode for us. You don’t get jockeys of that calibre unless you’ve got a top horse.
“But he’s an absolutely brilliant rider, as good as they get. So I was real happy when I rang his agent and they took the ride.”
So an ‘airborne’ jockey and trainer and a ‘flashing light’ run last start run by Andy’s A Star provide the strongest push possible for punters into a Rosehill Gardens TAB Highway Handicap (1400m) on Saturday.
Cameron, in the process of moving to racing heartland Scone, allies with the formidable presence of McEvoy on Andy’s A Star as regional trainers intensify preparations for the upcoming Country Championships.
McEvoy produced a classic ride on Godolphin’s Exhilarates to win the Magic Millions 2Y0 Classic on the Gold Coast on Saturday after his Melbourne Cup glory on Cross Counter and of course The Everest in successive seasons on Redzel.
The jockey might be a horizon away back to a country gallopers Class 2 on Saturday but, for his hordes of punting followers, the cash returns are the same.
Andy’s A Star ran a super and unlucky third from near last behind Crockett’s highly promising stable-mate Ori’s On Fire in a Royal Randwick Highway over 1100m three weeks ago.
While he rises 4kg to 57kg and extends to 1400m for the first time, the circumstances suggest it’s his race for the taking.
“It was a huge run by ‘Andy’s’, he was never ever balanced at the 1100m, just got run off his legs,'' he said.
“He’s crying out for 1400m, his final section was outstanding. I’m not concerned at the weight rise and I know he’ll get the right ride, the form Kerrin is in.”
Andy's A Star runs third to stablemate Ori On Fire at Randwick on December 29
Crockett hasn’t made a final decision on starting stable-mate Regal Cannon from a wide draw, but has a stunning opinion of the four-year-old gelding just out of maiden company.
“Early days, but he has as much ability as anything I’ve ever had in my stable, open company eventually but he’s still got his ‘L plates’,'' he said.
“At this stage Andy’s A Star is going to the Mudgee Leg of the Country Championships.
"It’s probably a preparation too early for Regal Cannon but when he produces in races what he does on the track, I’ll have a real smart horse. Watch for him, but maybe not Saturday.
“But the thing is they both need bench mark Highway points for the Championships.”
The Mudgee Qualifier for the Country Championships is on Sunday March 3.