By Ray Hickson
Beware Redzel in the Group 1 $2.5m Aquis TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) because we’ve been here before.
The dual Everest champ has somehow found himself the underdog in the autumn sprint ‘grand final’ after his uncharacteristic failure in The Galaxy on Golden Slipper Day.
It’s eerily similar to what unfolded ahead of the second Everest last October when Redzel failed in the Premiere Stakes, with excuses, then rebounded two weeks later.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy is adamant Redzel had an excuse for his Galaxy run and warns against underestimating him as he attempts to avenge his defeat in the 2018 TJ.
“This has always been his main aim and you can’t forget that,’’ McEvoy said.
“For mine you just put a line through his last start. We got a bad bump at the 600m and it cost us momentum, he got unbalanced and that’s always hard when you’re in a handicap with a big weight.
“It’s a great race but I wouldn’t be jumping off him just yet.’’
McEvoy worked Redzel at Royal Randwick on Tuesday morning and is more than happy with how he’s come through The Galaxy.
He’s drawn ideally in five in the high class field of 11 and McEvoy hasn’t ruled out leading though he’s not giving away anything concrete on the tactics front.
“He’s best when he’s up near the front of the van,’’ McEvoy said.
“It’s all about trying to obtain the best position and making the most of your luck. I know if I can ride him how I want he'll be very hard to beat.’’
Redzel, an $8 chance with TAB, has won over $15 million in prizemoney from his two Everests and two Group 1 wins and he’s a real Randwick specialist, with eight of his 14 wins there.
McEvoy said both he and trainers Peter and Paul Snowden are eager for Redzel to atone for his defeat at the hands of Trapeze Artist last year and add the TJ to his CV.
“It’s the one box we haven’t been able to tick. It would be a real cherry on the top given what we’ve already achieved with the horse,’’ he said.
Two boxes McEvoy hasn’t been able to tick for his own CV are wins in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) and Group 1 $2m Harrolds Australian Derby (2400m) and he feels he has live chances in both.
He partners the Chris Waller-trained Unforgotten ($11) in the Doncaster and after riding the mare in trackwork he feels she’s had the right preparation coming back in trip from her fourth behind Avilius in the Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
McEvoy rode Unforgotten into third place as a $4.40 chance in the Epsom in September with 52.5kg and she carries 1kg less in the Doncaster with three runs at weight-for-age under her belt.
“She was very unlucky in the Epsom in the spring and I can see her running a great race in what’s a competitive race,’’ McEvoy said.
“She’s had the old tried and tested formula of a 2000m race then back to the Randwick mile. Chris has used that before.’’
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace's Dundeel colt Global Exchange is McEvoy’s Australian Derby mount as the colt attempts to emulate his sire’s feat of winning the three-year-old classic.
And he comes to Sydney with a pair of Group 2 wins against his name.
Kerrin McEvoy putting Unforgotten through her paces this morning ahead of the $3million Group 1 Doncaster on Saturday. She’s going very well so let’s hope for a good barrier. pic.twitter.com/mb9THNML3q
— Chris Waller Racing (@cwallerracing) April 1, 2019
McEvoy said Global Exchange ($8) made all the right moves finishing close up behind Happy Clapper in a barrier trial last week and is positive about his chances.
“He went around in a star studded heat and Ciaron asked me to give him a nice strong hitout,’’ he said.
“He has him in the ATC Derby fourth run back after three wins so you can’t ask much more, and his last two wins in good quality races in Melbourne have been of nice style.
“He definitely brings the right form lines and he’s a lovely big horse to sit on.’’
Godolphin filly Tenley lost her unbeaten record in the Golden Slipper and McEvoy is eager to get back on the youngster’s back in the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires’ (1400m).
He saw first hand that Tenley, who was second favourite, didn’t appreciate the heavy ground at Rosehill so with a firmer track prevailing is expecting her to regain her best form.
“I was outside her in the early stages in the Slipper and it was evident straight away she wasn’t travelling,’’ he said.
“I’m hoping you can put a line through that and I’m presuming that’s what the case is because James (Cummings) has opted to keep her in training.
“When I won on her first-up this prep I thought if she’s not a Slipper filly she’s a Sires’ filly so it’s nice to get back on her.’’
Tenley is a $9 chance with TAB in a wide open Sires’ market.