Kerrin McEvoy has confirmed that he will be attending the Darwin Cup meeting at Fannie Bay next Monday.
McEvoy, who will be attending his first Darwin Cup, will be riding three year old The Ruffian in the feature event of the day, with the three year old chasing down the $100,000 Darwin Triple Crown bonus.
The Ruffian is eligible for the bonus after he took out the Darwin Guineas and Northern Territory Derby.
There were doubts over whether The Ruffian would run out a strong 2000m, however he put them to bed in his impressive display in the Northern Territory Derby, when he won easily stepping up to 2000m for the first time.
The Ruffian will need to defy history if he is to take home the Triple Crown. Only two three year olds have ever successfully completed the Triple Crown – Brinney (1989) and Ventilago (1996).
The Ruffian was formerly owned by Sheikh Mohammed and trained by Lee Freedman, however they decided to part ways with the horse after his victory in the Albury Guineas. He was then purchased by Victorian owner Bill Mumford who sent the horse to Sheila Arnold in Darwin, with the Triple Crown in mind.
“I’ve been waiting since 1986 to win the Triple Crown,” Mumford said.
The Ruffian will be stepping out against the older horses for the first time in his career in the $175,000 Darwin Cup.
“Comparing The Ruffian’s times in the Guineas to the times they ran in the Prime Ministers Cup and the Bridge Toyota Cup, our horse will have to improve to have any chance in the cup. The fact that he drops from 57kg in the Derby to 53kg for the cup certainly helps,” Mumford said.
“However, his next race will be his first against the older horses, but Sheila tells me he’s fine.”
Mumford also confirmed that he had asked McEvoy to ride the horse in the cup before local hoop Paul Shiers steered him to Victory in the Northern Territory Derby.
It is understood that the only reason McEvoy was granted a release from the Darley yard for the Darwin Cup is because The Ruffian is a son of leading Darley sire and former champion of the track Lonhro. Connections of Lonhro are confident that a win in to The Ruffian in the Darwin Cup would further improve Lonhro’s stud prospects.
The Ruffian is currently a $3.80 second favourite for the Darwin Cup, behind two time Darwin Cup runner up Hawks Bay who is favourite at $3.60.