The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Tony McEvoy has described the 2017 Sandown Guineas as an “aggressive” assignment for his progressive colt Vinland but believes the galloper is well equipped to handle the challenge on Saturday.
Fifth this time last spring in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) on Zipping Classic Day, Vinland returns to Ladbrokes Park 12 months on for a shot at Group 2 $250,000 Sandown Guineas (1600m).
The nicely-bred son of Sebring has had only two runs over the past year, the latest a return to form win at Bendigo over 1400m breaking his maiden status at career start number three.
After the Merson Cooper win on debut, Vinland ran a credible sixth behind subsequent Golden Slipper Stakes winning filly She Will Reign on a Heavy (8) Randwick track in the Restricted Listed Inglis Nursery (1000m) last December.
“He ran very well that day [in the Merson Cooper], he got back and got a bit lost and ran on very strongly to run fifth,” McEvoy told Racing Victoria this week.
“I then took him to Sydney, he ran a great race in Sydney, he got knocked over, and on a wet track, and ran sixth.”
Subsequent knee surgery saw the horse spend a lengthy time sidelined, but McEvoy was impressed with his comeback win first-up on November 1.
“His return after knee surgery the other day [at Bendigo] was very impressive,” the horseman said.
“Second-up to the Group 2 is an aggressive placement, but he’s a horse I’ve got a lot of time for and I think he’s up to it.”
Vinland is currently rated an $11 chance in pre-field Sandown Guineas betting, markets a wide open affair featuring seven single-figure hopefuls.
Tamasa ($4) is the early favourite for Darren Weir, the son of So You Think looking to improve on a close sixth in the Listed Hilton Hotel Stakes (1400m) at Flemington last Saturday.
McEvoy also targets the Merson Cooper Stakes on Saturday with his unraced two-year-old I Am Invincible filly Oohood.
She trialled at Morphettville Parks finishing fourth under two lengths beaten over 800m and looks set to be McEvoy’s sole runner in Saturday’s race despite the stable nominating for six juveniles.
McEvoy ran Oohood in a testing Sandown gallop on Tuesday morning alongside stablemate concealer ahead of her debut where he chases a third Merson Cooper win following earlier success with Maximus Moonard (2011) and Jackson (2015).
“It was really nice, and to able to bring her here and familiarise her with the actual track she’s running on on Saturday is a great help to us,” McEvoy said of the filly’s gallop with Luke Currie aboard.
“She quickened up nicely. Luke said she came down the hill well. I was really pleased with her, she pulled up fit and she’s ready to go.”
To get behind McEvoy’s Ladbrokes Park runners on Saturday at the right spring racing odds online head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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