A notable performer in events in his native Great Britain, trainer Tony McEvoy has confirmed exciting import Evangelist will make his Australian racing debut at Rosehill Gardens this weekend, and is confident of a polished first-up performance from the small gelding.
Beginning his racing career under the guidance of leading British trainer Sir Michael Stoute, Evangelist displayed a particular displeasure at racing on rain-affected surfaces, all but ruling out the majority of top-level racing events in England and leading to owner Phillip Newton to seek a more suitable base for the rising five-year-old.
Trialling on less-than ideal surfaces in Adelaide, McEvoy said the firmer surfaces of Sydney is precisely what Evangelist is searching for, and believes his British form will translate well to his first-up Australian run in the Alpha Flight Services BM80 (1500m) on Saturday.
“He’s a little tiny fella, when you see him you’ll have a chuckle because of how small he is, but he’s got one of those bantamweight fighter’s attitudes. He thinks he’s 18 hands,” McEvoy told TVN.
“I spoke to the owner and I’ve brought him to Sydney because he can’t handle the wet.
“The owner’s recommendation was that he hasn’t sent the horse to Australia to run on wet ground.
“When you look at this horse’s form, he is quite capable and has done a good job but only earned a little over $36,000, so you can understand why more people are sending their horses here.
“If he could win on Saturday he would almost double his career earnings.”
Confirmed amongst a field of just 11 runners for Rosehill’s card-closer on Saturday, McEvoy said he has been pleased with the way the Oasis Dream gelding has worked over the last month, but concedes he is likely to perform to a higher standard over 2000 metres.
“He’s a leader but I’d say he’d need further than this; that’s my gut feeling,” McEvoy said.
“I’ve given him a couple of trials at home but they’re only over 1000m. I can’t get enough support to trial over the 1200m or 1400m, so it’s a little hard to get a read on him.
“I gave him some work on Tuesday morning at Hawkesbury and he galloped quite sharp to me. I thought he’ll run a competitive race and be better when he gets to 2000m and 2400m.
Facing a classy field at Rosehill on Saturday that is set to include the likes of Paederos and Frozen Rope, Evangelist is currently offered at generous odds of $15 to win his maiden Australian race with Ladbrokes.com.au.
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