Jockey Kerrin McEvoy is confident that Darley sprinter Epaulette will relish the Flemington straight when he makes his racing debut at the famous track in the 2013 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) tomorrow.
Epaulette has had thirteen career starts in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales but has never previously run at Flemington; exclusively running at Caulfield and Moonee Valley when he has been brought to the Darley stable in Victoria.
The Commands entire made his debut at Moonee Valley in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) on September 27 and clearly did not handle the tight-turning circuit; finishing seventh in what was one of the worst performances of his racing career.
Epaulette got his first taste of straight racing when he had a jump-out at Flemington over 800 metres at the end of October, winning in impressive fashion, and McEvoy told AAP that he is confident the four-year-old will be perfectly suited down the straight this weekend.
“I really feel that the straight racing is going to suit Epaulette,” McEvoy said.
“I might be wrong but I feel it’s going to help him land closer to the pace.
“Some of the races up in Queensland he got six to 10 lengths off the front and that can prove hard to turn around once you’re going for home.
“If he can lay up a bit closer it’s going to help him attacking the last two furlongs.”
Epaulette may have failed in his only race start this preparation but has a fair second-up record, winning the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at the second start of his 2012 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, and has been freshened specifically for the VRC Sprint Classic.
McEvoy said that the classy entire is in excellent condition and is confident that he can give him his second straight victory in the race formerly known as the Patinack Farm Classic after winning with Mental last year.
“He’s in great order and if he turns up and concentrates and gives 100 per cent he’s going to give this race a real shake,” McEvoy said.
“Mental was in fantastic form last year and Epaulette at his best is every bit as good as Mental, so we’re hopeful.”
Epaulette is currently available at odds of $12 in VRC Sprint Classic betting markets, behind clear favourite Lucky Nine ($3.80) and Manikato Stakes winner Buffering ($7.50).