Jockey Kerrin McEvoy is hoping to deliver a final title to trainer Peter Snowden’s Darley tenure this weekend when riding talented colt Kumaon in this weekend’s Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Confirmed to part ways with Sheikh Mohammed’s operation at the end of this season, McEvoy told AAP a few near misses recently has made his hunger for success in the Champagne Stakes on Saturday grow tenfold.
“We’ve had some near-misses this autumn in Sydney; obviously a second in the Derby (Tupac Amaru), a second in the Slipper (Earthquake), so it would be fitting to win another Group 1 when the focus is on Sydney and it’s Pete’s home state” McEvoy said.
“It would be good to send him out with a Group 1 winner.”
Unable to completely handle the heavy going of the soaked Randwick track when sixth in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) last time out, McEvoy said this prospect of a far firmer surface for the Champagne Stakes should work well for Kumaon.
“In the heavy at Randwick he was very unsure of himself in his action and he had his head on the side,” McEvoy said.
“It looks like it’s going to be a dry track on Saturday and the step up to the mile will be a plus for him as well.
“It’s an even field. Gerald (Ryan) has got a strong hand in the race but we’re hoping this fellow can improve on dry ground.”
Debuting with an impressive victory in the Schweppes Golden Gift (1100m) on December 21st, Kumaon produced a strong turn of foot to finish third amongst particularly classy company in the ATC Membership On Sale Plate (1100m) on January 4th before placing an unlucky second behind Time For War in the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) prior to the Sires’ Produce.
Having been allocated the ideal inside barrier for the 2014 Champagne Stakes, the Lonhro colt is currently offered at particularly generous odds of $17 for success, or $4.20 for a place.
Strolling home to win the Sires’ Produce Stakes by more than a length last time out, Peggy Jean is currently sole occupant of the top line of betting for success in the Champagne Stakes at even $3 odds, ahead of Veuvelicious ($3.30), Bachman ($5) and clear market mover Go Indy Go ($6).
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