Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas favourite Royal Symphony needs to tune up his barrier manners before he returns to the race track after bungling the start again in a Flemington jump out this morning.
Trainer Tony McEvoy is concerned that Royal Symphony is still not stepping away cleanly from the barriers and will be putting in some extra work for the three year old before he heads back to the races in three weeks in the Listed $120,000 Exford Plate (1400m) at Flemington on September 16.
“I did want to see him jump out of the gates a little bit better,” McEvoy told racing.com.
“If there was one thing I could change – and there’s not much I want to change with him – he has always stepped a little slow from the gates.
“Dwayne Dunn said he was much better today, and once he jumped out he just brought him back and gave him a nice cruisy jump out.
“He wasn’t here to do much today, it was all about stimulation and feeling good, not for assessment.”
McEvoy is keen to have Royal Symphony follow a similar path as his Group 1 winner Hey Doc did last year heading into the Group 1 $2m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 14 and run in the Group 2 $200,000 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on September 29.
Hey Doc won the 2016 Stutt Stakes before going on to run third behind Divine Prophet and Seaburge in the Caulfield Guineas and then returned in the 2017 Melbourne Autumn Carnival to win the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.
Royal Symphony has been to the races three times for three wins and recorded his hat trick of wins with victory in the Listed $120,000 Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) at Flemington on July 8.
McEvoy has kept the Domesday colt in light work since as he prepares him for the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“We’ve kept his muscle but freshened up his head, we’ve got him feeling really good about himself,” McEvoy said.
“His base fitness is still there so it’s not going to take much tinkering to get him back to where we want him.
“September 16 is the goal date to start off, so we’ve got time on our side.
“The path that I like is the Listed Exford Plate (1400m) at Flemington on 16th September, and then it’s a fortnight into the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley, and then a fortnight into the Guineas.
“It’s not too dissimilar to Hey Doc last year, he won the Bill Stutt Stakes and then into the Guineas and was beaten by a bad barrier so it seemed to work then, and I think it fits very well with Royal Symphony too.
“He’s still looking nice and soft and full in condition, which I think is where we need him for what he’s got ahead of him, and the horse is in such a great mindset, he really is very happy.
“He thinks he’s the best horse in my stable and I’m not disagreeing with him.”
Pre-post Caulfield Guineas betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Royal Symphony as the $6 favourite ahead of Blue Diamond Stakes winner Catchy at $11 and Esperance, Invader and Kementari at $13.
Early market order for the 2017 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6 Royal Symphony, $11 Catchy, $13 Esperance, Invader, Kementari, $17 Pariah, Merchant Navy, $21 Dracarys, Souffrant, $26 Animalia, Beau Geste, Cliff’s Edge, Hualalai, Illumicon, Mighty Boss, Qiji Phoenix, Siege Of Quebec, Summer Passage, Taking Aim, Speed Street, Trekking, Tulip, $34 or better the rest.