Trainer Tony McEvoy is hoping a sprinting pedigree won’t stop Antipas running out the 2800m of the Listed $200,000 VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington on Anzac Day.
Antipas is the winner of three races from nine starts, ranging from 1600m to 2150m and McEvoy is taking on board the thoughts of jockey Jamie Kah who rode the Testa Rossa three year old to victory over the 2150m in a BenchMark 64 Handicap at Oakbank over the Easter Long Weekend.
“Jamie Kah tells me the further the better,” McEvoy told AAP.
“He hasn’t got a stayer’s pedigree at all, a sprinter’s pedigree if anything, but I’ve trained him on hard for it and he’s handled the training well.
“The distance is a query for me but he’s very fit, very sound and there’s no better way to find out than to put him in it.”
McEvoy has been training Antipas over the jumps and he gave the gelding a trial over the hurdles before his win at Oakbank and repeated the exercise in a hurdle trial when third at Cranbourne over 2400m as a lead up to tomorrow’s VRC St Leger.
“He’s such a lazy fella at home so I use the jumps a lot to stimulate him,” McEvoy said.
“I trialled him at Oakbank before he won there and I thought I’d do the same before this race so I took him to Cranbourne and let him have a cruise around.”
A good performance by Antipas in the VRC St Leger will see McEvoy take him back to South Australian for the Group 1 $600,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 12.
“I thought I’d take him over there, have a look at him against these horses and then cruise back into Adelaide if he ran well enough,” McEvoy said.
“He’s had a beautiful prep for a staying race and most importantly he’s thrived on the preparation.”
Dwayne Dunn takes over from Jamie Kah on Antipas who has drawn barrier twelve in the capacity sixteen horse VRC St Leger field.
Antipas is rated a $21 chance for the VRC St Leger with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the James Cummings trained Astoria as the $2.15 favourite ahead of the Darren Weir trained High Energy who is the only other runner under the $10 mark at $7.50.
Astoria has some strong Autumn Carnival form beside his name which includes a third in the Group 2 $200,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 10 followed by a second two weeks later at the same track in the Group 2 $200,000 Heritage Finance Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m) .
Cummings also campaigned Astoria in Sydney during the Autumn and the Medaglia D’Oro colt had mixed results with a second in the Group 2 $200,000 Tricolours Racing & Syndications Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 31 but then ran down the track a week later when seventeenth in the Group 1 $2m Harrolds Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.