By Chris Roots
There are choices for jockeys on big spring race days. Some will be made for you by the quality of your rides, and it’s why Kerrin McEvoy is in Sydney rather than chasing the grand slam at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
McEvoy will ride Callendar-Presnell favourite Arctic Glamour, Espiona (The Invitation), Cap Ferrat (Spring Champion Stakes) and General Salute (Brian Crowley Stakes) on a program that offers more than $7 million in stakes in Sydney. But McEvoy admitted that he would still have gone to Melbourne for the Cox Plate, which he hasn’t won in a glittering career that includes three Melbourne Cups, two Everests, a Golden Slipper and a Caulfield Cup, if the right ride was there.
Kerrin McEvoy gives the thumbs up as Arctic Glamour returns in the Tapp-Craig.Credit: Getty
“I would love to be riding in the Cox Plate because it’s the only big one I haven’t won it yet, and it looks a fairly even edition this year,” McEvoy said. “I have missed it for the past couple of years because the Sydney option is so good.
“It was a pretty easy decision this time with my rides here.“I really think Espiona is a great mare, and Arctic Glamour is an exciting filly that is going places.“Cap Ferrat gets to 2000 metres, which will suit him, and General Salute, if he can do things right, can get the win his talent deserves.”
Instead of one race – albeit a race of dreams – McEvoy has four chances to fill his pockets at Randwick. Arctic Glamour could be one for beyond Saturday after winning her maiden at Rosehill and then scoring a classy win in the Tapp-Craig last time out.
“We knew what we had back in the winter, so we sat down and decided the races we wanted her to run in, and so far she has lived up to what we expected,” trainer Gerald Ryan said of the $2.10 favourite.“The mile is where we are going to see the best of her and it’s why we went to this race. She can earn a trip to Melbourne with a win.”
McEvoy has been in the saddle for Arctic Glamour’s two wins and has been impressed by her acceleration.
“She just takes a couple of strides to find her top but it is really fast when she gets there, and I haven’t got to the bottom of her in those wins,” McEvoy said.“I haven’t had to take my hands off the reins with her yet, so she should keep improving and we don’t know where her ceiling is.”
Espiona has been usurped by Magic Time as favourite for The Invitation as she comes off a checked run in The Everest and returns to mares company, where she won the Golden Pendant earlier in the spring.
“There seems to be plenty of speed and I think the 1400m is a better trip for her,” McEvoy said. “She has been very good when she has been in mares company and will be charging home.”
McEvoy could get a group 1 as well from Cap Ferrat, which will look to build on his third to Raf Attack in the Gloaming Stakes, where he was closing late.
“I know that [Spring Champion favourite] Tom Kitten was unlucky the other day, and we got a good run through, but I feel that he is going to be better stepping up in trip to 2000m,” McEvoy said.
McEvoy will look to put the frustrating spring with General Salute behind him in the Brian Crowley Stakes, where a gear change might prove the difference. General Salute was only a length away from the winner in the San Domenico Stakes and the Run To The Rose, where he did plenty.
“He has this habit of getting to a certain part of the race and just wanting to go left,” McEvoy said. “They have changed the blinkers to a one-eyed blinker on the near side and hopefully that helps to go straight. He is a horse with plenty of ability and if was can get him to go straight, we will finally see it.”