A likely rain-affected track at Sydney’s Royal Randwick on Saturday sees Hawkesbury-based Tony McEvoy bypass the Group 2 Villiers Stakes with Mouro and take the stallion north for the Brisbane Handicap 2014 at Doomben.
McEvoy nominated for both Mouro and Pelicano in this year’s Villiers Stakes over the Randwick mile, but only the latter will contest the handicap clash because of the big wet in Sydney.
His other hopeful, Grand Slam six-year-old Mouro will instead head up to Queensland for a shot at the $100,000 Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m).
There he will carry the 61kg top weight, three kilos more than his Villiers Stakes allocation, but needing a firmer track than Sydney is offering McEvoy is willing to travel.
“The ground’s going to be heavier here (in Sydney) and Mouro prefers it a bit better than heavy so he’s going up to Brisbane,” he told Racenet.
“He’s had one go on a heavy track and ran terribly so I’m not going to take the risk with him.”
That run was in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) back in April where, on a Heavy (9) track, he dropped right out to run 17 lengths away 18th behind known mudlark Sacred Falls.
McEvoy’s American-bred import has enjoyed a host of wins since arriving in his Aussie trainer’s care back in 2012 including the 2013 Rowley Mile, 2013 Sale Cup, that year’s Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield and most recently the Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) first-up at Flemington back in March.
Since then his form has been hit and miss however including a last start 10th when beaten over six lengths by Chris Waller’s Villiers Stakes fancy I’m Imposing in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) on November 29.
Mouro was caught three wide that day but did have some cover.
He came into the straight still wide and had nothing over the finishing stages, losing ground in what was a pretty ordinary run.
McEvoy is hoping for improvement then on Saturday over the mile in the Brisbane Handicap where his rivals could include the Tony Gollan-trained Ipswich Cup champ Brave Ali, super-consistent six-year-old Darci Be Good, Sunshine Coast Guineas champ Hopfgarten and last start Recognition Stakes winner Rudy who is more likely to run in Sydney’s Villiers Stakes.
Unable to really explain the Festival Stakes flop, McEvoy said Mouro’s work since indicates he’s ready to bounce back.
“He should be forgiven because I’m sure he got colty on us at the races that day,” he said.
“It was too bad to be true.”
As mentioned, the stable will still be represented in the Sydney Summer Racing Carnival feature on the weekend with the return of Court Of Jewels six-year-old Pelicano in the Villiers.
The gelding hasn’t raced since winning the Listed Werribee Cup (2600m) 12 months ago, a winning Randwick trail at the start of this month showing he was ready to run a cheeky race first-up after having surgery to remove a bone from his sesamoid.
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