Iconic will return to racing in the 2015 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield on Saturday and trainer Tony McEvoy is thrilled that he made the decision not to run the talented sprinter in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington last Saturday.
The Black Caviar Lightning Stakes and Oakleigh Plate were both on the agenda for Iconic at the start of his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing, but McEvoy told Racing Ahead that he was keen to avoid the likes of Lankan Rupee, Brazen Beau and Deep Field.
Iconic gets into the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1200m) with just 52.5 kilograms on his back under the handicap conditions of the race and McEvoy is happy with the condition of the Bel Esprit gelding heading into the Group 1 event after he won a barrier trial at Morphettville on February 10.
“He was very good, he quickened up well and he pulled up really nicely,” McEvoy said of Iconic’s barrier trial performance.
“He is going as well as he can go and he has proved in the past that he is up to a Group 1.
“It was either the Lightning or the Oakleigh Plate, but he wasn’t ready to go for the Lightning last week and I just didn’t want to take on those three big horses on.
“We thought that we would wait and see how we slotted in this week.
“I was very happy with our decision watching Lankan Rupee the other day.”
Iconic has been ridden by a host of different jockeys during his racing career to date and McEvoy revealed this morning that talented young Western Australian hoop Chris Parnham had been booked to ride the four-year-old.
Parnham has performed well during his stint in Victoria, which was highlighted by a win on Smokin’ Joey in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on Orr Stakes Day, and McEvoy said that he was happy to have the promising hoop on Iconic in the Oakleigh Plate.
“Chris Parnham is going to ride him,” McEvoy said.
“Robert Crabtree who owns the horse is keen on young Chris, he is a talented jockey and he was more than happy to book him.”
Iconic was included in the nominations for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) that were released by Racing New South Wales this afternoon, but McEvoy said that the gelding would likely be saved for the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 27.