Darley’s number one rider Kerrin McEvoy will get his first feel of Golden Slipper favourite Earthquake under race conditions in the Group 2 $300,000 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Earthquake is undefeated from three race starts but McEvoy is yet to ride the Exceed And Excel filly on race day but has spent a lot of time on her back in trackwork.
McEvoy had several rides for Darley on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival last Spring when Earthquake made her winning debut with Christian Reith in the saddle over 1000m at Randwick.
And then McEvoy was forced to miss the filly’s Melbourne Autumn campaign because of a knee injury when Queensland rider Damian Browne steered Earthquake to win the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Prelude (Fillies) (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8 and the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22.
Trainer Peter Snowden gave Earthquake a short freshen up after her stunning win in the Blue Diamond Stakes and McEvoy said that she felt great in trackwork at Warwick Farm on Tuesday morning.
“She worked with Haussmann this morning (Tuesday), he’s a good worker, I gave him a little bit of a start and rounded him up,” McEvoy told The Daily Telegraph.
“The thing that has impressed me most is her attitude. She’s had that little freshen up, and she’s come back showing no signs of having lost any of her fitness, which she had under her belt in Melbourne.”
“She’s just got a great nature about her. A lot of the smart two-year-olds have an old head on young shoulders, they know what the game is about, they know what you’re asking them to do and they do it with no fuss.”
And McEvoy knows the enormity of trying to win the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5 after winning the Blue Diamond Stakes after the Darley team completed the rare double in 2011 with Elusive Quality colt Sepoy.
“It’s a hard task, but Sepoy did it, and she’s got the right temperament and attitude that will take her a long way.’’
Earthquake will have to overcome a wide barrier in the Reisling Stakes after drawing gate nine in the ten horse field while stablemate Memorial has drawn the rails.
The Team Hawkes trained Mossfun, with James McDonlad to ride again, also fared poorly at the barrier draw coming up with the outside gate while Queensland filly Oakleigh Girl will jump from midfield out of gate six.
Gerald Ryan’s last start winner Lucky Raquie has drawn near the inside at two while Jason Collett is certain to give Alpha Miss a good run from barrier five and another bold showing by the Lucky Owners filly will further tempt connections to pay the $150,000 late entry fee to run in the Golden Slipper.
Earthquake is currently the clear cut $2.75 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au in the Golden Slipper market order with her nearest rival being Mossfun at $8 and Magic Millions 2yo Classic winner Unencumbered at $11.
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