A capacity field of Stradbroke Handicap hopefuls...
The Black Caviar Lightning 2018 at Flemington next month is a nice first-up option for Tony McEvoy’s Manikato Stakes winner Hey Doc who could also be Dubai-bound this year.
McEvoy named a home run on February 17 in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) for his Duporth four-year-old who would face The Everest winner Redzel in the race.
Redzel also won the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight in the spring and will trial at Rosehill on Monday against Winx ahead of his return.
Hey Doc meanwhile took his earnings up over $1.76 million on October 27, the eve of Winx’s historic third Cox Plate victory, taking out the Group 1 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley.
“I can’t fault him in any way shape or form,” McEvoy told Racing Victoria this week.
“He’ll trial here at Flemington down the straight on February 2 and if he pleases me in that we’ll look at the Lightning first-up.”
Over his 18 start career, which has netted eight victories, Hey Doc has shown great versatility.
His other elite level win came as a three-year-old in the autumn of 2017 when he saluted over the mile at Flemington in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
McEvoy is convinced the galloper is a genuine sprinter now and will plan an autumn prep around that, which could include a shot at the Group 1 $1.25 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on Super Saturday, March 10, before a possible international bid at Meydan Racecourse in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m).
“What he showed in the Manikato is that he is a genuine Group 1 sprinter, he had to do the work both ends in that race and beat a lot of the Everest horses which everyone was saying was the form at that time,” McEvoy said.
“He is a high-class horse and I am very comfortable aiming him at the top level this autumn.
“In the Lightning we’ll see how he returns, then we’ll see what the handicapper does to him in the Newmarket now that he’s a weight-for-age Group 1 winner but the Newmarket would be a logical race for him,” McEvoy said.
“Then there’s the [Group 1] William Reid [Stakes over 1200m at Moonee Valley on March 23] but also I’ve put an entry into the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai… and it could come to reality.
“There are some cracking races here in Australia but it was a free entry and I thought we’ll just see how the horse is.
“He’s a gelding and he’s very sound, he travels well and it’s a very nice race.
“On turf, down the straight at Meydan, Australian horses have run very well in it in the past so it’s certainly a consideration.”
The Dubai World Cup Night feature, run on March 31, has been won by Australian racehorses Ortensia (2012) and Buffering (2016) and is also being considered this year for Music Magnate.
Another Aussie sprint star booked for an Al Quoz Sprint bid this season is the Lindsay Park-trained Faatinah who saluted at Meydan yesterday in a 1200m sprint.
To back Hey Doc in the Group 1 autumn races in Melbourne and overseas this season head to our No. 1 recommended bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au.
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