Trainer Tony McEvoy has revealed that he will decide on a potential autumn campaign for imported galloper Sysmo after he runs in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) on the Randwick Kensington track on Saturday.
Sysmo was initially set for a staying campaign in the summer, including starts in the Listed ATC Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 30 and the Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) at Randwick on December 14, but McEvoy was forced to change his plans after the My Risk gelding developed a bruised heel.
McEvoy told Racing Ahead that Sysmo had recovered well from the minor issue but said that he has used the setback as an opportunity to freshen the five-year-old for a shot at Group 2 level, which will allow him to see whether the gelding is good enough to compete at the highest level of racing during the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival.
“I had him in a 2000 metre race last weekend and he just got a bruised heel,” McEvoy said.
“He had a little bit of pain in the foot and was just a half out of five lame, with a bit of pulse to the foot, so we elected to wait.
“As feet do, they come quick and it went quick so he is right back on top of his game.
“When I brought him to Sydney I knew that I wanted to get him over a mile and a half and I was going to run him in the ATC Cup last weekend and there is a race called the Christmas Cup coming up.
“The setback we had threw all that into disarray so I thought that we would freshen him and run him in the Villiers.
“If he shows me that he is not up to these horses at this Group 2 level then I won’t be thinking about the autumn too much for him.
“If he mixes it with them then I think that we will have to consider backing off him and giving him a chance through the autumn in Sydney and autumn.”
The Villiers Stakes has been moved from the course proper at Randwick to the inside Kensington track and McEvoy said that he was not particularly happy with the decision; believing that Sysmo would be better suited to the larger track.
The leading trainer is still confident that Sysmo can be competitive in the $175,000 event, if he finally draws a good gate when the Villiers Stakes barrier draw is conducted tomorrow morning.
“It is not ideal for me and that was disappointing when they happened,” McEvoy said.
“You have to deal with the cards that are dealt and I will take him there.
“I think that the key now is that he draws good because he hasn’t had much with the gates.
“I think he has drawn the outside in his last three runs so he is due to draw well, which will help him.
“James McDonald is riding the horse and I am thrilled with that.
“James is a high quality young jockey and with 54 on his back I am sure that he will run well.”
McEvoy is chasing his first win at Group level in New South Wales since he took out the Summer Cup (2400m) with Le Roi last year.