By Ray Hickson
Champion jockey Kerrin McEvoy says Group 1 winning sprinter Redzel could be in for his best preparation this spring and is certainly not backing away from the challenge he faces at Randwick on Saturday.
Redzel will be conceding 2.5kg or more to all of his rivals in the Group 2 Concorde Stakes (1000m), a race that promises to be run at high speed, but McEvoy said the gelding has come back in fantastic shape.
He said the last start Group 1 winner impressed him in winning his latest trial on August 21.
“It’s almost like he keeps improving,’’ he said.
“He’s racing at a really high level and he is only a five-year-old so there’s no reason to say he might not improve a bit more.
“He really pleased me in that trial so I’m looking forward to getting on his back in what looks like a nice race for him.’’
Redzel winning his barrier trial at Randwick - August 21
Redzel, along with Concorde rival Spieth, is a horse that is likely racing for a berth in The Everest given six slots remain open just six weeks out from the $10m feature.
His Group 1 win means he carries 60kg, 6kg more than the expected leader Super Too who sped around the Randwick 1000m in a hand timed 55.72 seconds on August 19 – an unofficial course record.
"If something is really quick my horse uses his energy well and doesn’t over race if something wants to lead me,’’ McEvoy said.
“I go there with an open mind.’’
Before he heads to Randwick, McEvoy partners the hot favourite Sayed in Friday’s Listed $160,000 Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) and warns the Chris Waller-trained stayer should be forgiven for his shock defeat on August 19.
Sayed won at Randwick over 2400m on August 5, with McEvoy in the saddle, by over five lengths but was run down with 61kg last start by Auvray.
"They were two different styles of race,’’ he said.
“The winner tagged him the whole way (last start) and got him when he was softest inside the last bit with 61kg on his back.
Sayed's narrow defeat as favourite at Randwick - August 19
“It was still a brave effort and he didn’t lose my admiration given he was beaten 0.2 lengths.
“He’s a strong travelling horse so coming back in trip isn’t a worry at all.’’
If Sayed wins as widely expected on Friday, McEvoy said he’d prove himself a very good light weight chance in the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) on September 30 where he’s currently $8 equal second favourite behind stablemate Alward.
Here’s a rundown of McEvoy’s comments on the remainder of his Randwick rides on Saturday.
Merovee ($7 TAB Fixed Odds, race 1) – I’d expect him to come on from that win (at Newcastle). He’s learning his craft and no doubt he’s going to get out further in trip. It’s a great little race with some winning form and it’s another class test for this horse.
Up ‘N’ Rolling ($2.00, race 2) – I was unlucky I was sick when he won first-up and Hughie got the job done. It looks a nice race for him and up to 2000m I wouldn’t have an issue at all. He can make his presence felt as well.
Embley ($6.00, race 3) – He got back and they went steadily, I went to move into the race rather than have him pulling and then I was spent on the corner. It could have been the firm ground but up to a mile suits him now.
Schedule ($6.00, race 4) – He really impressed me when I rode him at Randwick (in April). He’s a nice, big, strong horse that can make his presence felt and one thing I’ve learned is when Mack Griffith brings one to town he’s usually on the mark.
Formality ($3.70, race 6) – I had the rub of the green with the way the race was run the other day. I’d expect some nice natural improvement from the first-up run and she showed tenacity. A few of the same fillies line up and you’d expect them to improve a bit more so it’s going to be an interesting race.
Life Less Ordinary ($23, race 7) – I like him, he pleased me in the Wagga Cup and both his trials back were a great stepping stone toward that first-up run. He ran home typical of a nice hose performing first-up so that was pleasing and he couldn’t have done more. He’s definitely one to watch because he’ll be going to some nicer handicap races in the spring.
Washington Heights ($1.95, race 9) – He looked unlucky the other day with the gaps not opening up. It looks a nice race for him, he’s drawn a good barrier and I wouldn’t be worried about the trip because he would have finished right among them last start.