Another awkward gate for Tony McEvoy’s Commands colt Jimando means they have their work cut out for them at Eagle Farm on Saturday when they jump from a double digit gate in the 2013 Queensland Guineas.
Showing promise at the start of the spring last year including their Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed (1400m) win at Flemington and their third to Philippi in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m), Jimando was tested as a stayer during the Melbourne Cup Carnival when connections ran them in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Proving to be more of a middle distance galloper they failed to step up to the distance or the class in the $1.5 million showdown finishing a distant 34 lengths away last to autumn superstar Fiveandahalfstar.
This time in the horse has had mixed results running a first-up 10th to Kulgrinda in the Group 3 RN Irwin Stakes (1100m) in Adelaide in April from barrier 11 (of 16) before a narrow Flemington win over 1400m on May 4 having overcome gate 12 (of 16) and a hefty 60kg.
Last start they drew wide with barrier 12 (of 16) again for the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben and could only manage to finish five lengths away 12th to Platinum Kingdom in the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival event, albeit beaten only five lengths in a run McEvoy is keen to forgive and forget.
“He began well last start but he just couldn’t get cover and ended up having to go back and go back and he ended up going back to last,” McEvoy said.
“It was really difficult to make ground there that day.
“I thought the horse was fantastic. It was a total forgive for me.
“He actually tried very hard and made good ground.”
They get their chance to atone this weekend at Eagle Farm with McEvoy running them in the $350,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) where they will face a smart field of fellow three-year-olds including their last start conqueror Platinum Kingdom.
There was more bad barrier news for them however with Jimando drawing gate 13 (of 22 including emergencies).
They will come into 11 (of 18) though if all four of the emergencies fail to gain a start.
Their failed last effort and the gate has seen Jimando open at juicy odds of around $34 in the Queensland Guineas betting markets which are led by the likes of Peter Snowden’s Sydney visitor Academus, the local Kelso Wood-trained Stradbroke Handicap hope Sizzling and Chris Waller’s Fred Best Classic runner-up Boban.
McEvoy however is keeping his chin up and instead of focusing on the wide gate is looking at the roomier Eagle Farm track which he hopes will suit Jimando.
“He’s drawn 12 at his last two runs,” he said.
“But Eagle Farm will be more to his liking.”
Think Jimando is worth a sneaky bet in your Queensland Guineas exotics this weekend?