Kerrin McEvoy’s love affair with super sprinter Redzel is set to continue when they team up again in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on day one of The Championships on Saturday.
McEvoy and Redzel have combined for six wins which started off with a win in the July Sprint at Canterbury in 2016 with their most recent victory being in the Group 2 $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 10.
“I love riding him and he’s in good order,” McEvoy told the Racing New South Wales News Desk.
Redzel and McEvoy did suffer a rare defeat two starts back when beaten a nose by Redkirk Warrior in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 17.
McEvoy was also on board the Peter and Paul Snowden trained flyer at The Breakfast With The Stars at Randwick on Tuesday morning to put the Triple Crown Syndicated gelding through his final paces in the lead up to the T J Smith Stakes this weekend and the Melbourne Cup winning jockey couldn’t fault the speedster’s work.
“It’s just what you want for their last bit of work and everything points to him getting to the TJ in good shape,’’ McEvoy said.
“He’s got that economical action and as a rider you have to make sure you’re not going too quick too early.’’
Co-trainer Peter Snowden said he opted to work Redzel with his race day blinkers on to help him focus on his work and not get distracted by the crowd that had come out to watch the stars gallop days out from the first The Championships.
“I knew there would be a lot of activity and I wanted to make sure his work was spot on,’’ Peter Snowden said.
“I wanted him to focus on what he had to do and his work was great. He did it comfortably. You wouldn’t get a better horse to work with, he’s very laid back.’’
McEvoy will have no trouble positioning Redzel in or near the lead from barrier six in the fourteen horse T J Smith Stakes field that has brought together a talented group of sprinters.
Redzel has won twice over the same course and distance as the T J Smith Stakes, once almost twelve months ago in the Group 3 $150,000 Hall Mark Stakes at the end the Sydney Autumn Carnival and a historical victory in the inaugural running of the $10m The Everest in the Spring.
Following the running of the T J Smith Stakes on Saturday, all the focus will be trying to get Redzel ready to score back to back wins in The Everest during the 2018 Sydney Spring Carnival.
“Every decision we make we sit down and work backwards from The Everest,’’ Triple Crown Syndicate director Chris Ward said.
“We’re about picking our grand finals, for this prep it was the TJ.
“We bypassed a couple of Group 1s down south which we thought were probably on the easier side but that was for the betterment of his chances in the TJ.’’
Redzel is the clear cut $2.40 favouriet at Ladbrokes.com.au for the T J Smith Stakes ahead of the $4.20 second pick In Her Time who is coming off a last start win in the Group 1 $700,000 The PFD Food Services Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 24.
The Ben Smith trained In Her Time has drawn barrier three with Corey Brown back in the saddle replacing The Galaxy winning jockey Zac Purton.