Tony McEvoy has tasted Group One success and is itching for more when Hey Doc runs in the 2017 Australian Guineas.
He was associated with numerous Group One winners with Lindsay Park over more than 30 years and led in a Cox Plate winner, Fields Of Omagh, in his name as head trainer of the stable in the early 2000s.
But since branching out on his own in 2010 when David Hayes returned from Hong Kong to take over Lindsay Park, McEvoy is yet to succeed at the highest level, although he’s gone close on a number of occasions.
McEvoy says Hey Doc is one of the better chances he’ll saddle in a Group One race with the gelding the $3.40 early favourite with Sportsbet.com.au for the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
“It would be tremendous for my brand and that’s what we strive for,” McEvoy said.
“I’ve been building this stable for six years and it’s been going very well, but I need to win one at the elite level.”
McEvoy went close to winning the Australian Guineas with Alpine Eagle who was narrowly beaten by Wandjina in 2015.
Hey Doc enters the Australian Guineas off a win in the C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington on February 18.
Importantly for McEvoy, Hey Doc has drawn barrier two which the trainer says gives the three-year-old every chance to run out the 1600m.
McEvoy said the gelding was unfairly considered suspect at the distance, although the trainer himself admitted to initially holding concerns.
“I had a few queries myself but he did win the Bill Stutt Stakes and then the other times at a mile the barriers probably cost him,” McEvoy said.
“I think he showed in the C S Hayes he’s come back a better horse and he was quite explosive at the end of 1400 metres.
“You would have to be a very game person to say he couldn’t run a mile on that performance.”
After Saturday McEvoy is eyeing two options with Hey Doc.
“He can run in the George Ryder and take on the big guys and three-year-olds also profile pretty well in the Doncaster,” McEvoy said.
“No decisions have been made as his whole aim this campaign has been the Guineas.”