Trainer Tony McEvoy tackles the opening day of The Championships at Randwick with two good chances in Group One races but harbours concerns over the state of the track.
Hey Doc contests Saturday’s G1 Doncaster Mile while Aspect meets the two-year-olds in Sires’ Produce Stakes.
The Randwick surface was upgraded to a heavy 8 on Friday afternoon with further improvement expected.
The winner of the Australian Guineas on March 4, Hey Doc gave McEvoy his first Group One winner since he left the Lindsay Park establishment in 2010.
Hey Doc will be attempting to become the first three-year-old to win the famous mile handicap since Sacred Falls won the first of his two Doncaster’s in 2013.
At his only start on rain-affected ground, Hey Doc won on a soft (6), at a mid-week meeting at Sandown last August.
“He won his only go on a soft six track in a small class race so all that’s told us is he’s not a duffer in it,” McEvoy said.
“Whether he’s effective on the heavy, I don’t know.
“If they don’t get any more rain the track could come to possibly a seven so that will give everyone a bit of a chance.”
McEvoy said Hey Doc had undergone a faultless preparation since his Australian Guineas victory at Flemington.
The trainer said the gelding had travelled well and settled in to his new surrounds in Sydney.
“He travelled up beautifully,” McEvoy said.
“He’s bright and well and had a canter around this morning and I can’t fault him.”
Hey Doc has remained steady in Doncaster betting with WilliamHill.com.au at $17 since drawing barrier 19 in Saturday’s race in which he will be ridden by Tim Clark.
Le Romain has been solidly supported to be the $5 favourite while Newmarket Handicap winner Redkirk Warrior has been the best backed outside of the favourite, firming from $11 after the draw to now being second pick at $8.
With the scratching of the Darren Weir-trained Tosen Stardom after drawing the widest barrier, the Joe Pride-trained NewTipperary ($35) has gained a start in the 20-horse field.