Tony McEvoy took a gamble six years ago when he left the security of Lindsay Park to venture on his own, and that paid off when Hey Doc streaked to victory in the Group One Australian Guineas at Flemington.
A long-time lieutenant with Lindsay Park, McEvoy also had a stint in charge when David Hayes moved to Hong Kong.
During that time McEvoy prepared three Group One winners, including a Cox Plate with Fields Of Omagh, before relinquishing the role when Hayes returned to Australia.
With Lindsay Park moving its base to Euroa in country Victoria, McEvoy, in partnership with businessman Wayne Mitchell, took over the Angaston property in South Australia and renamed it Kildalton Park.
Winners have steadily flowed but there was a glaring hole, a Group One win since the new training operation began in 2010.
That was rectified with Hey Doc’s win in the Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.
Ridden by Luke Currie, Hey Doc was sent out the $3.40 favourite with Sportsbet.com.au before scoring a three-quarter length win from Prized Icon ($8) with Snitzson ($71) a neck away third.
“This is what we do it for, to race at the elite level,” McEvoy said.
McEvoy said barrier one was important for Hey Doc as it allowed the gelding to take a sit behind the speed.
Currie waited for the right time to make his move and took advantage of an inside run, shooting clear inside the 200m mark.
McEvoy says Hey Doc has the attributes to become a weight-for-age performer as a four-year-old with his turn of foot.
Now McEvoy will turn his attention to Sydney for The Doncaster at Randwick on April 1.
“Three-year-olds profile pretty well in The Doncaster so we’ll consider that,” McEvoy said.
“The Australian Guineas was his goal for the autumn, he’s achieved it and I couldn’t be more proud of the horse.”
For Currie, who has ridden with success in Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius, it was his third gong at the highest level.
His first Group One came with Roman Arch in the 2003 Toorak Handicap before Suavito in last year’s CF Orr Stakes.
“This is the biggest race I’ve won in 20 years of riding,” Currie said.
“It’s my first Group One at Flemington and I might not have another opportunity.
“My second Australian Group One took 10 years and this one has come only a year later.
“Hopefully I won’t have to wait as long again.”
Victoria Derby winner Prized Icon, who was scratched from the Randwick Guineas in Sydney, produced an effort that pleased trainer James Cummings.
“It was a storming effort in the concluding stages,” he said.
“I think he’s in really good order for the rest of the autumn and he’s got some big fish to fry in Sydney.”