The Cox Plate mind games have already started with jockey Kerrin McEvoy who is on target to lose five kilograms to ride Long John in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
McEvoy has to reduce his riding weight to 49.5kgs for the first time since riding three year old Helmet in the 2011 Cox Plate and says he is well on the way to reach his target.
Apart from a very basic and bland diet McEvoy also has to overcome the mind games that surface when on a strict Spartan diet.
“It can be a test of the mind, but hopefully it’s going to be worth it on Saturday,” McEvoy told the Racing Victoria news.
Trainer Peter Snowden and the team from Darley decided to let Long John take on a crack weight for age field in the Cox Plate after winning the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12.
McEvoy immediately had to set his sights on a target that was reachable, but tough if he was going to take part in the 2013 Cox Plate.
Darley’s number one rider has to stick to a strict diet of porridge, fruit, steamed food and brown rice as well as a stringent exercise program.
“We’ve still got a couple of kilos to lose so we’ll be hitting the pavement this week,” McEvoy said from Breakfast with the Best on Tuesday morning.
“I’ll crunch it and we’ll get there.
“I just have to keep moving. You can’t eat much, the diet is pretty much no white carbs, porridge for brekky, fruit for lunch, everything steamed and brown rice for tea.
“There’s no red meat, no alcohol, no sugar and no salt so it’s a pretty bland old diet. I usually like fish but I’m sick of fish already.
Long John is attempting to repeat the efforts of the mighty Red Anchor back in 1984 as the last three year old to complete the Caulfield Guineas – Cox Plate double in the one year.
The John Hawkes trained All Too Hard tried valiantly to do it last year but was nabbed on the line by tough Kiwi weight for age star Ocean Park.
While the last three year old to win the weight for age championship of Australasia was So You Think when he won his first Cox Plate in 2009 and went on to win ten Group 1s in Australia and in Europe.
Bookmakers have Long John well in contention in the 2013 Cox Plate market order at $8 with the star New Zealand four year old It’s A Dundeel the $4 favourite just ahead of Puissance De Lune at $4.40.
Gai Waterhouse’s imported stallion Fiorente is also in the mix at $5 while G1 Turnbull Stakes winner Happy Trails is marked at $13.