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South Australian horseman Tony McEvoy will saddle-up two of his Blue Diamond Stakes 2016 bound juveniles at Caulfield Racecourse this Saturday with Lessyd and Hey Doc facing off in the Inglis Premier.
The lucrative $250,000 Inglis 2YO Premier (1200m) attracted 22 nominations including 10 youngsters with previous race experience.
Two of those come from McEvoy’s Angaston stables with last start Flemington winner Lessyd and Duporth colt Hey Doc.
A winner on debut at home at Morphettville on January 2, Hey Doc finished second to his stablemate Lessyd in a 1100m race down the straight by the barest of margins a fortnight later.
The duo are set to clash again in the Inglis Premier ahead of a shot at the $1.5 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 27.
McEvoy has saddled up nine previous Blue Diamond Stakes runners for just the one second place finish, something he hopes to improve on this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
“They’re really tough, young two-year-olds,” McEvoy said of his Inglis Premier hopes speaking to Racing Ahead on RSN.
“They bounced out of that run [at Flemington].
“Hey Doc, I galloped him yesterday [Monday] morning at Moonee Valley. His gallop was of a very good standard. And he certainly hasn’t gone backwards.
“Lessyd galloped this morning at Flemington, and he towed the jockey to the post.
“They’re in as good a shape as they can be going into Saturday.”
Of the two in the Inglis Premier this weekend, Statue Of Liberty gelding Lessyd has more experience with three previous starts.
Before the breakthrough win on January 16 he ran third first-up over 1000m at Moonee Valley behind Highland Beat and second to Bingaroo over 1135m at Geelong on Boxing Day.
It is Hey Doc that the bookmakers rate a better chance in futures Blue Diamond Stakes betting, albeit at a roughies price of around $67 for the win in markets led by the Mick Price-trained Extreme Choice.
“Going into Flemington, I thought Hey Doc would’ve been too good for Lessyd, and it shows why I’m still working because I got that wrong,” McEvoy said when asked which of the two he rated the better chance.
“But there’s very little between them.
“They’re two young, fit horses.
“Both had things go wrong in that race – Hey Doc got left in front a long way from home and got a bit lost, and Lessyd was wide and made a mid-race move.
“They were both superb runs.
“The way they’ve come on, I’ll be just having a quinella on Saturday.”
Price’s Not A Single Doubt colt Extreme Choice won the Inglis Nursery at Randwick on debut by two lengths back on December 12 and has his second start on Saturday in the $150,000 Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m).
Cox Plate winning trainer McEvoy and connections didn’t pay up for Lessyd in the Blue Diamond Stakes third declarations.
He confirmed however that a big run on Saturday would see him re-enter calculations with the late entry paid.
McEvoy’s top Blue Diamond Stakes chance in 2016 according to the markets is $17 shot Concealer, the Nicconi filly having won the Group 3 Emirates Airline Plate (1000m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day last November.
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