Jockey Luke Currie is expecting his mount Hey Doc to take plenty of improvement from his first up run in the Group 3 $150,000 Ladbrokes Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday on his way to the Australian Guineas.
The Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) will be run at Flemington on March 4 and trainer Tony McEvoy is certain to have the gelding spot on for another attempt to win a Group 1 trophy.
“He’s been in Adelaide and came over last week,” Currie told AAP.
“I’ve been on his back twice and he’s still not wound right up. He’s still got a bit of improvement in him but he looks well enough to give a good showing this week.
“Last time in he seemed to improve with work so he’ll probably do the same this time. He furnished a little bit, but he seems a little bit more relaxed to ride at the moment so hopefully that will hold him in better stead.
Currie knows Hey Doc well, having ridden him in four of his five starts during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival which included a third behind Divine Prophet and Seaburge in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 8.
Hey Doc scored a hat trick of wins in the lead up to the Caulfield Guineas with Currie in the saddle for his wins in a 1200m BenchMark 70 Handicap at Sandown on August 7 and in the Group 2 $200,000 Strathmore Community Bank Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley the week before the Caulfield Guineas.
Sandwiched in between those two wins apprentice Dylan Dunn steered the three year old to a win in a 1514m 3yo Handicap at Moonee Valley.
Hey Doc rounded off his Spring Carnival campaign with a fourth with Currie in the saddle to Comin’ Through in the Group 3 $200,000 The Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on October 29.
The Duporth gelding has drawn barrier seven in the twelve horse Manfred Stakes field and is challenging for favouritism in a three way battle at Ladbrokes.com.au.
On Thursday afternoon Hey Doc was sharing the second line of betting with the John O’Shea trained Morton’s Fork at $5 just behind Lindsay Park’s Derryn at $4.80.
Regan Bayliss rides Derryn who has drawn barrier three and the Hinchinbrook colt has the blinkers off at his first run back since finishing seventh to Flying Artie in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 29.
Morton’s Fork will jump from barrier one with Craig Williams to ride again after the pair combined for a win in the Group 2 $250,000 Ladbrokes Sandown Guineas (1600m) at Sandown on November 12.
Hey Doc is currently marked as a $13 chance for the Australian Guineas at Ladbrokes.com.au.