The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Tony McEvoy celebrated his first Group 1 victory in partnership with his son Calvin with the team’s comeback hero Hey Doc going all-the-way to score an upset 2019 Winterbottom Stakes victory in Perth on Saturday.
It had been over two years between drinks for Duporth gelding Hey Doc who went into the Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot winless since his Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) victory at The Valley in October 2017.
After a lengthy time on the sidelines from September of last year after undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip, the now six-year-old returned with a first-up third catching the eye at Sandown on November 16 in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m).
Showing great natural improvement and overcoming a wide barrier 13 of 14 draw for his first WA assignment in the Winterbottom Stakes, Hey Doc was back on top with a dominant performance.
“It is special, very special,” McEvoy said post-win.
“Cal was working in Melbourne today but it is very nice to have him on board with me, and this will be the first of many I can assure you.”
Ridden to victory by a confident Luke Currie, the $13 shot in betting led from the jump and had two and a half lengths to spare on the line over the runner-up Vital Silver ($7) who suffered his first loss at the track.
“I said to Luke, ‘don’t rush, let them find their spots and then we will come across’. But he got there so easy it was incredible,” McEvoy said.
“I knew he was going to be very hard to pass.
“He was fabulous today, all the signs were telling us that. It has been a long campaign, about five months work, to get him back
“We gave him a long time with his injury and then we gave a long, slow prep, and he was very close at Sandown. He wasn’t quite there and class got him within a neck.
“To see the improvement from there to here . . . I wish I was punter, I would have had a bet.”
Adding even more value to the Winterbottom Stakes trifecta this Perth Summer Racing Carnival was the run for third from Chris Gangemi’s veteran 10-year-old Rock Magic ($31), who beat home the fourth placed favourite Trekking ($2.90) who missed the kick but made up ground late.
Currie was also thrilled with the Winterbottom Stakes result, his third Group 1 win on Hey Doc who he also partnered for the 2017 Manikato and Australian Guineas victories.
“He offset that gate by being very quick across and then he got it nice and easy in front,” the hoop said.
“He was always jogging from when I got over. He never felt like he was going to get beaten.
“For this horse to come back from 18 months off, you can’t underestimate the effort by horse and the staff.”
A potential trip to Dubai for the $2.9 million Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) at Meydan on World Cup Night – March 28 – could now be on the cards for the triple Group 1 champion Hey Doc.
2019 Winterbottom Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||3||HEY DOC||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Luke Currie||–||13||58.5kg||$13|
|2||10||VITAL SILVER||Daniel & Ben Pearce||Ben Melham||2.46L||5||58.5kg||$7|
|3||4||ROCK MAGIC||Chris Gangemi||Jarrad Noske||2.69L||1||58.5kg||$31|
|4||1||TREKKING||James Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||3.1L||3||58.5kg||$2.90F|
|5||13||FLIRTINI||Simon A Miller||Paul Harvey||3.22L||11||56.5kg||$7|
|6||15||DUBIOUS||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Craig Williams||4.5L||4||53.5kg||$8|
|7||7||VIRIDINE||James Cummings||Damien Oliver||4.89L||6||58.5kg||$17|
|8||11||SPIRIT OF VALOR (USA)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Steven Parnham||5.08L||10||58.5kg||$101|
|9||12||STAGEMAN||Adam Durrant||William Pike||5.12L||9||58.5kg||$13|
|10||9||ENDLESS DRAMA (IRE)||Tony Pike||Leith Innes||5.41L||2||58.5kg||$31|
|11||14||MISTY METAL||Robert & Todd Harvey||Shaun McGruddy||5.61L||7||56.5kg||$31|
|12||8||VALOUR ROAD||Simon A Miller||Chris Parnham||5.96L||8||58.5kg||$26|
|13||5||HOME OF THE BRAVE (IRE)||James Cummings||Damian Lane||7.01L||14||58.5kg||$21|
|14||2||MALAGUERRA||Vaughn Sigley||Troy Turner||8.13L||12||58.5kg||$71|
|–||6||DURENDAL||Chris Gangemi||Brad Parnham||–||0||–||–|
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