Tony McEvoy has weight on his mind in electing to run in-form sprinter Shiraz at Flemington.
The trainer considered running Shiraz, unbeaten in two runs this campaign, in the Group Two Missile Stakes at Randwick on Saturday but has instead headed south for the Group Three Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
McEvoy’s reasoning is a longer range goal, the Group Two Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 12.
The Missile Stakes wasn’t originally on McEvoy’s radar, but he decided to enter when extra nominations were called for.
“He could have won the Missile with 58 and-a-half but then when I go to the Bobbie Lewis, which is where I want to go, he’ll carry 58 or 59 in that,” McEvoy said.
“If he wins the Aurie’s Star with 54, he’ll go to the Bobbie Lewis with 56 on his back.
“It’s a big difference.”
McEvoy said Shiraz had been impressive in winning at his past two starts on heavy ground at Rosehill and is ready to take the next step.
“He’s got a great winning culture,” McEvoy said.
“But we have to take into account that we are talking about July form and it’s easy to get carried away, but I think he’s ready to take the next step.”
Shiraz will be floated back to McEvoy’s Hawkesbury stables following the Aurie’s Star to prepare for the Bobbie Lewis.
He said if he keeps progressing then the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 26 would be the next target.
Another galloper taking a step in grade is Jacksay who is venturing to Flemington from McEvoy’s Angaston base in South Australia to contest the Elizabeth Dunkley & Jason Lee Handicap (1400m).
A veteran of three starts, McEvoy said the son of Rothesay should be undefeated.
“He was a good thing beaten at his first run in my opinion and then he went to Gawler on a Saturday before I backed him up a week later and he did a terrific job,” McEvoy said.
“He’s got a bit of upside and this is a perfect race for him.”
McEvoy said Jacksay would have a spring break in the paddock after Saturday’s race before preparing for the Magic Millions carnival on the Gold Coast in January.
Article from justhorseracing.com.au