Doc delivers Group 1 joy for trainer Tony McEvoy

Flemington racecourse

Hey Doc saw out the mile of the Australian Guineas well

 PICTURE:Getty Images 

 By AAP Racing/Craig Brennan 10:15AM 4 MAR 2017 

Report: Australia, Saturday

Flemington: Australian Guineas (Group 1) 1m, turf, 3yo

TONY MCEVOY took a gamble six years ago when he left the security of Lindsay Park to venture on his own, and that paid off when Hey Doc (Tony McEvoy/Luke Currie) streaked to victory at Flemington.

A long-time lieutenant with Lindsay Park, McEvoy also had a stint in charge when David Hayes moved to Hong Kong.

During that time McEvoy prepared three Group One winners, including a Cox Plate with Fields Of Omagh, before relinquishing the role when Hayes returned to Australia.

With Lindsay Park moving its base to Euroa in country Victoria, McEvoy, in partnership with businessman Wayne Mitchell, took over the Angaston property in South Australia and renamed it Kildalton Park.

Winners have steadily flowed but there was a glaring hole, a Group One win since the new training operation began in 2010.

That was rectified with Hey Doc’s win in the Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.

Ridden by Luke Currie, Hey Doc was sent out the 12-5 favourite before scoring a three-quarter length win from Prized Icon (7-1) with Snitzson (70-1) a neck away third.

“This is what we do it for, to race at the elite level,” McEvoy said.

McEvoy said barrier one was important for Hey Doc as it allowed the gelding to take a sit behind the speed.

Currie waited for the right time to make his move and took advantage of an inside run, shooting clear inside the 200m mark.

McEvoy says Hey Doc has the attributes to become a weight-for-age performer as a four-year-old with his turn of foot.

Now McEvoy will turn his attention to Sydney for The Doncaster at Randwick on April 1.

“Three-year-olds profile pretty well in The Doncaster so we’ll consider that,” McEvoy said.

“The Australian Guineas was his goal for the autumn, he’s achieved it and I couldn’t be more proud of the horse.”

Also on Saturday

Randwick: Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (Group 1) 1m, turf, 3yo

INFERENCE (Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes/Tommy Berry) landed the Randwick Guineas by a narrow margin.

With his win in Saturday’s 1600m-feature on a wet Randwick track, Inference earned a part of history as the first Australian Group One winner produced by champion So You Think.

Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said it had been an up-and-down day.

“It is a little bit bittersweet. The grey (Chautauqua) lost no admirers showed he’s back. He ran a super race,” Hawkes said.

“For this bloke, he has a lot of untapped potential. He went ever so close in the Victoria Derby.”

Inference ran third in the Victoria Derby with Hawkes saying Saturday’s win was a bonus as he heads to the Rosehill Guineas and the Australian Derby.

“I said to the owners, ‘if he wins today, he is winning on ability alone. The Rosehill Guineas is the one we’re chasing and then into the Derby.'”

Inference (17-2) came from last with Tommy Berry timing his run to perfection to edge out the only filly in the race, Invincible Gem (9-2) by a head with Comin’ Through (19-5) another length and three quarters away.

“The best part of this horse is we trained his mum (Pontiana) and she had a lot of potential,”: Hawkes said.

“The So You Thinks are going great at the moment.”

“This is a horse with really untapped potential.”

Randwick: Canterbury BMW Stakes (Group 1) 6½f, turf, 3yo+

A year after Le Romain (Kris Lees/Glyn Schofield) won the $ 1 million Randwick Guineas, he wound back the clock to pip the world’s best sprinter and clinch the third Group One of his career.

In a rousing finale to the $ 500,000 Canterbury Stakes on Saturday, the four-year-old gelding dipped on the post to beat Chautauqua by a short head, although trainer Kris Lees initially thought the golden grey had clung on.

“To beat a champion on the line, it’s very satisfying. I thought he got beaten,” Lees said, hoping Le Romain (18-5) would finally get the credit he deserved.

“I said he was a little bit underrated before, but he’s never been in our books.”

Le Romain closed out his last preparation by winning the Group One Cantala Stakes at Flemington last October and Lees said he had enhanced his reputation further with a dogged run on a heavy track.

“He’s tough, he can run up to a mile. He’s given himself every chance and now he’s competed at weight-for-age.”

Lees reiterated the Doncaster Mile on April 1 was the target but before then Le Romain has the opportunity to upset the world’s best horse on turf, the outstanding mare Winx when they line-up in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill on March 18.

Jockey Glyn Schofield had no doubt Le Romain would be up for that tussle after seeing off Chautauqua’s challenge.

“My fella wasn’t going to lie down. He really enjoyed it, he dug down deep. The fight’s what he loves,” he said.

Chautauqua’s co-trainer Michael Hawkes was far from despondent after the six-year-old gelding – a 27-10 favourite – encountered a heavy track for just the second time in his 26-race career.

“He was outstanding, it was the run of the race,” Hawkes said, after Chautauqua raced over more than 1200m for the first time since the All-Aged Stakes at Randwick almost two years ago.

Jockey Tommy Berry was also upbeat.

“What he showed me is that he will relax enough to go up to a Doncaster if they want to take that path with him.

“You can see when he started to get confident in the going because that’s when he really picked up ground late. He’s back.”

 
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