Kerrin McEvoy is expecting a better racing surface at Randwick on Saturday will give Kumaon an excellent chance of providing trainer Peter Snowden a departing Group 1 victory in the $400,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Kumaon will be the last Group 1 runner that Snowden will saddle up for Darley before he joins his son Paul Snowden to train in partnership at Randwick and McEvoy, stable rider for Darley, is hoping for a final Group 1 victory.
McEvoy is blaming the heavy Randwick track for a disappointing sixth by Kumaon behind Peggy Jean in the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) on April 12 following a promising second on a heavy Rosehill surface in the Group 2 $175,000 Bowermans Office Furniture Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) on March 29.
“In the heavy at Randwick he was very unsure of himself in his action and he had his head on the side,” McEvoy told AAP.
“It looks like it’s going to be a dry track on Saturday and the step up to the mile will be a plus for him as well.
“It’s an even field. Gerald (Ryan) has got a strong hand in the race but we’re hoping this fellow can improve on dry ground.”
The Randwick track for the final day of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival is currently rated a dead 4 with only light showers forecast over the next couple of days.
McEvoy was hoping to ride the last Group 1 winner for Snowden under the Darley banner and narrowly missed out over the Autumn Carnival with Earthquake running second to Mossfun as the short priced favourite in the $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5.
Then the trainer-jockey combination missed out again when Tupac Amaru went down by half a length to Criterion in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 12.
“We’ve had some near-misses this autumn in Sydney, obviously a second in the Derby, a second in the Slipper so it would be fitting to win another Group One when the focus is on Sydney and it’s Pete’s home state,” McEvoy said.
“It would be good to send him out with a Group One winner.”
McEvoy missed out on Earthquake winning the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 22 because of an injured knee and had to watch Queensland jockey Damian Browne steer the Exceed And Excel filly to victory at Caulfield.
Kumaon is rated a $17 chance in the Champagne Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Gerald Ryan trained Peggy Jean the $3 favourite just ahead of the Brent Stanley trained Veuvelicious at $3.30.
Bachman, stablemate of the favourite, is the next in the betting at $5 ahead of Go Indy Go at $6 and Scratch Me Lucky at $9.