New jockey Kerrin McEvoy is expecting a bold first up performance from Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 $600,000 Precise Air Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Regular rider, top Kiwi jockey Opie Bosson, will be riding the Murray Baker trained stablemate Turn Me Loose in the Group 1 $500,000 italktravel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday, giving McEvoy the chance to partner Mongolian Khan.
McEvoy has had a feel of the Kiwi stayer in track work leading up to his return to the racetrack following a severe case of colic he suffered after winning the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“He looks really well in himself, he was nice and bright the other morning and he put up some solid work on the course proper,” McEvoy told the Sportsman.
“It all points to him being in good condition after that health scare back in the Spring.
“His mile recorded reads well, he was unlucky in a mile race in the Spring, we have Winx to beat but he is a quality horse in his own right.”
Baker agrees with McEvoy that Mongolian Khan has done well in the lead up to his return, but concedes that he can’t see him beating Chris Waller’s new super star Winx.
“I have been very happy with him, he has trialled up. He has had a jump out. Obviously well short of his best distance,” the Cambridge trainer told Racing Ahead.
“I think he should be running on at the finish but I don’t think he can beat Winx.”
“But take out Winx and it is a very even field. There is a lot of stayers resuming, they will probably be like him first and second run up, just hope they can keep Winx in sight.”
Baker did point out that Mongolian Khan was only beaten a length and a half when a first up seventh in the Spring in the Group 1 $400,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington at Flemington and expects him to put in another tidy first up effort in the Chipping Norton Stakes.
“He ran a nice race in the Makybe Diva, he ran on well late, he got tightened a wee bit that day,” Baker said.
“Randwick is a big track, he will have his chance to get somewhere near then anyway.”
A pleasing effort from Mongolian Khan in the Chipping Norton Stakes will then see him line up in the Group 1 $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 19 and then onto the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill the following week.
Winx completely dominates the betting for the Chipping Norton Stakes and is the $1.35 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of the John O’Shea trained Hartnel at $7 and Mongolian Khan at $14.
Early market order for the Chipping Norton Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.35 Winx, $7 Hartnell, $14 Mongolian Khan, $15 Dibayani, $16 Hauraki, $26 Storm The Stars, $31 Magic Hurricane, $41 Centre Pivot, $81 Preferment, $101 Gust Of Wind, $126 Who Shot Thebarman, $151 Grand Marshall.