Trainer Tony McEvoy believes that Iconic is a better chance than stablemate Pocket Rockets in the Group 2 2014 Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Iconic was well backed in the lead-up to his first-up start in the City Of Glen Eira Handicap (1000m) at Caulfield on January 25, but was caught at the back of the field and was unable to run down the leaders in the final stages of the race.
McEvoy told Racing Ahead this morning that he was impressed yet frustrated by the performance of Iconic first-up and said that he is hopeful the Bel Esprit gelding can breakthrough for his maiden win at Group level in the Rubiton Stakes this weekend.
“He has been plagued a little bit from awkward barriers this fellow and getting knocked down as soon as he gets out of the barrier,” McEvoy said.
“He had to go back too forward to get in the other day and it left him an impossible task to make up the ground.
“The sectionals confirmed how well he went and I am very pleased with him.
“He has taken no harm from it and with 53kg on his back, I think that is a significant advantage to him in this race.”
Pocket Rockets will also be heading into the Rubiton Stakes second-up and was desperately unlucky not to start his preparation with a win in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on January 18.
McEvoy believes that Pocket Rockets took plenty of benefit from his first-up run and, like Iconic, is confident that the son of Invincible Spirit will perform strongly this Saturday.
“He is really good,” McEvoy said.
“He went home and he has just really thrived this horse.
“He is happy and well and that run did him the world of good.
“He was ready to win that race first-up, but he is more ready for this contest on Saturday.”
While McEvoy likes the chances of both of his gallopers in the Rubiton Stakes, he believes that the set weights plus penalties conditions of the race favour Iconic, who will carry three kilograms less than his more experienced stablemate.
“At the weights I would lean to Iconic,” McEvoy said.
“He has drawn well for the first time in a while and he drops back from the 58 and the 59 kilos that he has been carrying.
“I would lean to him at the handicap.”
McEvoy is chasing his first Group 2 victory since Hugs Dancer took out the 2004 edition of the Craiglee Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.