Darley’s number one rider Kerrin McEvoy has ruled himself out of taking the ride on Earthquake in the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Prelude (Fillies) (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
McEvoy wasn’t completely happy with the recovery of the knee he injured in a fall in New Zealand last Sunday week after putting it through a gruelling test this morning.
McEvoy rode Blue Diamond Stakes fancies Earthquake and Mohave in trackwork at Flemington in the early hours of the morning before making a dash to the airport to arrive at Rosehill in Sydney in time to partner stable star Guelph in a 900m barrier trial win.
“It is just not reacting as well as I would have liked,” McEvoy told Racing Network.
“I’d rather take the time to make sure it is right before I return to the races, I also don’t want to have any detriment to the horses that I would be riding, including Earthquake.”
Top Melbourne jockey Damien Oliver is set to take over from McEvoy on Earthquake in the Blue Diamond Prelude after being called up to ride the Exceed And Excel filly in a 800m Cranbourne trial last Thursday.
Trainer Peter Snowden announced last week that Oliver would be on standby to ride Earthquake if McEvoy had not recovered in time.
“Damien is booked to ride Thursday with the understanding that if Kerrin doesn’t return (Saturday week), he’s on,” Snowden told The Daily Telegraph last week.
“It’s important for me to have someone who has ridden the horse. Damien does ride in the jumpouts, and it’s important he gets a feel for her.”
McEvoy will not get to ride Earthquake in a race before the Blue Diamond Stakes as he rode in Melbourne on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival when the filly won her only race start over 1000m at Randwick with Christian Reith in the saddle.
While Earthquake worked impressively over 1000m, dashing home the final 400m in 23.62s, Guelph was just as impressive in leading all of the way to win her 900m trial by three lengths over stablemate Malice in 53.8s.
McEvoy had the multiple Group 1 winner under a tight hold throughout the trial resulting in her running 1.5s slower time than the Gerald Ryan trained Snitzerland who stole the show with her six lengths trial win.
Earthquake is currently the second favourite at $4.50 in the Ladbrokes.com.au market order for the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22 with Ryan’s explosive two year old Rubick the top pick at $3.10.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Nayeli climbed up the betting order after her dominant Caulfield win on Saturday and is now an $8 chance ahead of the Mark Kavanagh trained Chivalry at $10.