Trainer Tony McEvoy is confident that classy sprinter Shiraz will prove tough to beat when he lines up for the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Shiraz has been a strong and consistent performer for McEvoy in posting ten wins and a further four minors through only twenty starts, but the gelding arguably found career-best form to date through the recent Autumn Carnival.
Taking plenty of benefit from a first-up run for fourth in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) on March 5th, the son of Zariz produced a smart turn of foot in the final straight at Rosehill Gardens to finish a close second in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) most notably a fortnight later.
McEvoy told Racing Ahead that Shiraz is a difficult horse to prepare for the races, but he is pleased with the seven-year-old’s condition and is excited to have him ready for the Carlyon Stakes 2016.
“He’s great fresh and his prep has been a faultless one at Flemington, he’s really settled into the routine there beautifully,” McEvoy said.
“He’s quite a difficult horse to trainer this fellow, he’s not mainstream. When you want him to run three in 39, he’ll run it in 35. He just wants to get it over and done with. He’s a 513kg horse and when he decides, he decides.
“That’s been his problem, you cannot just send him out and do what you want to do with him. You have to alter the work every day depending on how hard he’s done the previous bit of work.
“My staff in Melbourne have done a tremendous job with him and he looks very well.
“He galloped beautifully at Moonee Valley the other morning, so he’s ready to go.
“If the rain comes, he’ll be even harder to beat – he loves soft ground.
“The only thing that is a query is it’s his first time around Moonee Valley and you have to be effective around there.
“I’m really looking forward to the horse back at the races.”
Shiraz is a noted spring performer, and returned to racing during the 2015 carnival for four consecutive wins; including both the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) and the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m).
Allocated the ideal barrier 3, Shiraz will be partnered by Luke Currie for the first time in the Carlyon Stakes.
Shiraz is currently available at 2016 Carlyon Stakes odds of $5 with Ladbrokes Australia.