Kerrin McEvoy, the 2013 LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship winner, will be hoping his rich vein of form continues at tomorrow's simulcast Flemington meeting - the final day of Melbourne Cup week.
McEvoy has ridden nine winners, including seven of black type status, since 19 October and three at Flemington this week including the ultimate prize, the G1 Melbourne Cup aboard the Robert Hickmott trained Almandin.
Tomorrow he partners The United States, for the same trainer, who is the favourite for the G1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) and he is approaching the race with a degree of confidence.
“I’m really looking forward to riding him now that he steps up to his preferred trip. The whole team is going so well and that certainly includes this horse.”
“I won on him two starts back and last week he got back in the ruck and was held up and the slowish tempo was against him,” McEvoy said in reference to The United States finishing an unlucky 1.2 lengths 4th behind Le Romain in last Saturday’s G1 Cantala Stakes (1600m).
The United States won the G1 Ranvet Stakes in March at his most recent good track run at 2000m - winning by three quarters of a length from Hauraki who is among his Saturday rivals.
“Hauraki’s a good horse but we had his measure that day and hopefully we will again this Saturday. The pace looks like it will be genuine via Vadamos and Good Standing and that will suit my horse. If we get the right sort of run then he is going to be right in the finish,” McEvoy said.
A visiting runner from Europe, Andre Fabre-trained Vadamos, is considered a strong winning chance. He has admirers after his brave front-running fourth in the G1 Cox Plate (2040m).
McEvoy said he expected each of his mounts to run well on Saturday but noted that Happy Hannah may need luck, and or a skillful ride, from barrier 17 in the G2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m). “I’m going to have to nut out a good plan from that draw but this mare looks to be peaking at the right time,” he said.
The Quarterback, nominated for the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in December, to be ridden by Matthew Allen, is the favourite for the program’s other Group 1 race, the Darley Classic at 1200m.
“I’m really happy with him,” said trainer Robbie Griffiths, “it was always the plan to have him peaking for his third run back at his favourite course and distance and I’m confident that's the case.”
The Quarterback has won his past two starts at the Flemington 1200 metres course and his three previous wins were also down the straight track - at 1000 metres. His only defeat at the course and distance was by the slender margin of a head earlier in his career.
Among his rivals is the Mick Price-trained Lankan Rupee who was, at one time, rated the world’s top sprinter. He resumed from a 12 months injury enforced lay-off when a 1.7 lengths 3rd to Our Boy Malachi in the G2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) on 15 October.
“He came through that race really well and we know he handles the straight track so I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t right in the mix,” Price said.