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Adelaide’s Tony McEvoy has confirmed his last start Morphettville Parks winner Jimando is unlikely to run in the Newmarket Handicap 2015 in Melbourne this autumn despite being nominated for the classic this week.
The five-year-old Commands gelding is one of 57 official entries for the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) running at Flemington on Super Saturday, March 14.
The race is set to attract the season’s top sprinters including Lankan Rupee, Terravista and Chautauqua and is likely to be too tough an assignment for five-time winner Jimando.
Still his Angaston-based trainer McEvoy knows you can’t win a race you’re not entered for and so was happy to pay the nomination fee for Jimando in the Newmarket.
“He’s a good galloper this horse,” McEvoy told AAP this week.
“And if he happened to find two or three lengths he could be competitive in a Newmarket, and if you’re not in you’re not in. So that’s why he’s in there.
“(But) It’s not on his program.
“I just want to win some races with him. I just want to place him to stay in form.”
The horse has twice been tested in Group 1 company but was well beaten both times.
The first was a fourth to Samaready in the 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes as the first colt home in a result dominated by the fillies.
Then he disappointed when dead last, failing to run out the 2500m of that year’s Victoria Derby to walk home 34 lengths off the winner Fiveandahalfstar.
Having been sidelined for nearly a year with a suspensory ligament injury from June 2013 to May last year, Jimando is only lightly-raced for his age and is currently doing very well.
He resumed off another long seven month spell after tearing a muscle in his hindquarters on January 17 at home and enjoyed a first-up win by a length defeating Jennyfromtheblock in a Benchmark 90 over 1000m to kick off his new season.
“He bounced out of that run in Adelaide beautifully,” McEvoy said.
Saturday he races second-up travelling to Melbourne at Flemington for the $80,000 Isca Handicap (1200m).
Drawn in barrier nine with Nicholas Hall to ride, Jimando carries the hefty 60kg top weight and currently pays $11 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win in markets led by John O’Shea’s Lonhro colt Kumaon ($5).
While the weight doesn’t work to his advantage, he does have a nice second-up record of two wins from four starts and shoots for his third win at the track.
Jimando’s two previous Flemington victories were the Momentum Energy Handicap (1400m) in May last year where he carried 60kg to win from barrier 12 and the Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) in September of 2012 before his third to superstar colt Pierro one run later in the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Both of those Flemington wins then were over 1400m and how he handles his first look at the 1200m straight will be key to his chances of adding to his nice second-up record.
“He’s a genuine winning chance in this race if he handles the straight,” McEvoy said.
“He has got a real love for Flemington. Some of his best performances have been over the 1400 metres at Flemington.
“If he’s as effective down the straight he’ll be right in the mix.”
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