Damien Oliver will give Peter Snowden’s number one filly Earthquake a shakeup at the Cranbourne barrier trials on Thursday after stable rider Kerrin McEvoywas injured in a fall in New Zealand on the weekend.
And Oliver is in line to ride the Exceed And Excel filly in the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Prelude (Fillies) (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8 if McEvoy is still indisposed.
“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.
“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.
“It’s not ideal, that’s for sure, but time will tell with Kerrin. He’ll know in next week how he’ll be. He’ll need to ride trackwork by tomorrow week if he’s going to ride next Saturday.”
McEvoy injured his left knee when he fell from Massale at the 700m in the Sunday’s NZ$1m NZB Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie, crashing through the inside running rail.
McEvoy will visit his physio, Liz Steet, today to determine the extent of the injury and may have sustained some cartilage or ligament damage.
A quick return to the saddle is foremost on McEvoy’s mind and he will do everything possible to be fit to ride Earthquake in the Blue Diamond Prelude and the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22.
“That’s on the radar, for sure. I want to get back, but I also want to be right at the same time,” McEvoy said.
“The MRI is tomorrow, Liz reckons it’s a grade-one tear of the medial ligament, but we’ll know more tomorrow,” McEvoy said yesterday.
“The soreness I’m feeling now is from the bone bruising. I’ve either hit the upright with my knee, or the horse has clipped me on the way through.
“Thank God for the plastic uprights because I wiped out three of them yesterday. Had they been steel like they were a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t be talking today. To walk away from something like that, it could have been catastrophic if the rail was like it was a few years ago.”
Earthquake scored an impressive win on debut over 1000m at Randwick last November and was immediately installed as the favourite for both the Blue Diamond Stakes and the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5 but lost her spot at the head of the market orders after first starter Rubick scored a dominant win at Randwick last Saturday.
Snowden sent Earthquake to the paddock for a short after her Randwick win and now has the filly primed for her Autumn Carnival return and took note of Rubick’s two and three quarter lengths win on the weekend.
“The market will change every week, it will change the next three or four weeks as everyone starts bringing out their best horse,” Snowden said.
“I think you need to react after a couple of wins, but don’t get me wrong, Rubick is a nice horse, he ran time, and looks a serious racehorse.”
Blue Diamond markets have Rubick the $3.60 favourite ahead of Earthquake at $4 while Golden Slipper markets are similar with Rubick the top pick at $4.50 with Earthquake at $5.50.