Angaston-based trainer Tony McEvoy has an ambitious summer plan for his promising four-year-old Pelicano who will race in this weekend’s Werribee Cup as a hopeful lead-up to the 2013 Perth Cup in WA on New Year’s Day.
The Court Of Jewels gelding has been a super consistent force so far winning five and placing in another two of their 11 career starts to date.
After a good third to Niconoise in an 1800m feature on Crown Oaks Day at Flemington second-up, Pelicano went to Ballarat on November 25 and was defeated by the narrowest of margins when beaten just a short half-head by King Diamond in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
It was a brave performance from the runner-up too who was trapped three deep early before they shot to the front on the straight before just getting edged out on the line.
This Sunday they get the chance to turn the tables on their last start conqueror with both Pelicano and the now Jarrod McLean-trained King Diamond, formerly with Peter Moody, both nominated for the $120,000 Listed Werribee Cup (2600m).
If all goes to plan and Pelicano lives up to their potential on Sunday, when Cox Plate winning hoop Glen Boss jumps aboard, then McEvoy will seriously consider taking them west for the $500,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) on January 1, 2013, where they would come face-to-face with the best WA stayers including Railway Stakes winner Mr Moet and last start Kingston Town Classic champ Luckygray.
“The Werribee Cup will be critical to our plans,” McEvoy said.
Adelaide’s leading trainer, McEvoy targeted the Perth Cup two years ago when he sent the always-honest Tara Man to Perth for the 2011 edition of the classic.
The timing was horrible however with WA in the middle of a heatwave which ruined his horse’s chances in the Perth Cup, Tara Man failing to handle the heat eventually finishing a distant 13th when beaten 12 lengths by the winner Guest Wing.
“The day he arrived it was 40C-plus and the heat just kept coming,” McEvoy explained.
“It knocked the stuffing out of the horse.
“The heat combined with a long campaign pushed him over the edge.”
McEvoy then is out to atone in 2013 with Pelicano who he rates as a genuine chance, so long as they can actually get to Perth on time that is.
“The other issue is whether we can get a flight to Perth but I have been assured by Perth Racing there should be one next week,” McEvoy said.
Another horse coming off a run in the Ballarat Cup nominated for the Perth Cup 2013 is Mornington’s Doctor Fremantle, the Sam Pritchard-Gordon trained Sadler’s Wells eight-year-old having run fourth in the Cup last time out.
Having arrived in Australia from New Zealand last winter, Doctor Fremantle actually started their career in England under Sir Michael Stoute who trained them to win two Group 3 and one Group 2 races.
They then spent a year with Lee Freedman in Melbourne where they failed to run better than sixth in five runs, after which they headed across the Tasman.
In New Zealand Doctor Fremantle was trained firstly by Murray & Bjorn Baker and then by Lauren Brennan who rejuvenated the galloper and got him back to his best including a good third to Shez Sinsational in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) in December last year.
They have had five runs for Pritchard-Gordon now and the improvement continues with each run giving connections high hopes for the Perth Cup.
The Werribee Cup attracted 13 early entries while the 2013 Perth Cup nominations taken on Tuesday feature 32 stayers.
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