A visit to the Lindsay Park stables of David Hayes at Flemington during the winter of 1990 was the catalyst for Kerrin McEvoy’s dream of winning the Cox Plate, one of the few milestone moments in the saddle still to be achieved by the champion big race rider.
The nine-year-old had dreams of becoming a jockey and was there to meet his favourite horse – a Group 1-winning galloper affectionately known around the barn as Blup.
“I’ll never forget it I got to pat Better Loosen Up,” McEvoy said. “I had a real soft spot for Blup as they used to call him.
“Better Loosen Up’s win in 1990 was my first memory of the race and it fueled the desire inside that hopefully one day I might experience winning a Cox Plate.”
Better Loosen Up wins the 1990 Cox Plate. Photo: The Valley.Source:Supplied
On Saturday, McEvoy will be the Birthday boy chasing the most special of special birthday presents.
He has already won three Melbourne Cups, a Caulfield Cup and a Golden Slipper leaving only the Cox Plate to become eighth jockey to win the four Australian racing majors, joining Damien Oliver, Neville Sellwood, Roy Higgins, Pay Hyland, Mick Dittman, Jim Cassidy and Chris Munce.
“The big four-oh (40) on Saturday,” he said. “It would be a pretty special birthday present to win the 100th Cox Plate and complete the grand slam.
“It’s a cherished trophy and it’s a time honoured and unique jewel in Australia’s racing crown that all jockeys want to win.
“We all know it’s a wonderful race so the adrenaline is going to be running on Saturday knowing I’ve got a good chance to achieve the milestone of winning the four majors.
Kerrin McEvoy wins his first Melbourne Cup aboard Brew in 2000.Source:News Limited
“The only box that hasn’t been ticked is the Cox Plate so it would mean a lot.”
The closest McEvoy has come to winning a Cox Plate are two third placings aboard Viscount in 2001 and Folkswood in 2007 and he believes he goes into Saturday’s race thinking he has his best chance since partnering Helmet as the $2.80 favourite in 2011.
“I haven’t really come close except in 2001 on the three-year-old Viscount,” he said.
“He finished third beaten about a length that day behind Northerly and Sunline and that experience fuelled my fire to try to find the right horse to try to achieve that success.
“Folkswood ran third too but he wasn’t beating Winx.
Kerrin McEvoy adds a Caulfield Cup to his mantle-piece aboard Godolphin international raider All The Good in 2008.Source:News Limited
“It takes a special sort of horse to win the race – something I’ve not really had the pleasure of experiencing since back in 2001.
“I think Probabeel could be that horse. I think she’s got a good chance.
“She’s a horse that has raced at the top level for a fair while now and this spring she’s been in great form.”
The Jamie Richards-trained mare is rated an $8 chance for Saturday after drawing barrier two on Tuesday’s barrier draw.
McEvoy says there are multiple racing assets that he believes Probabeel possesses which will stand the Group 1 winner in good stead at The Valley on Saturday.
“She’s tough, and she has a great will to win,” McEvoy said. “A great will to win is a must have to win a Cox Plate.
Kerrin McEvoy adds the Golden Slipper to his collection when piloting Sepoy to victory in 2011.Source:News Limited
“She’s a daughter of Savabeel, she’s only been to 2000 (metres) once previously in the Vinery (Stud Stakes) earlier this year and I expect her to love it.
“It’s an even race this year and she appears to have come out of the last win well. She comes out of the Epsom and it has proved a good Cox Plate reference. Horses that run well in the Epsom and go to the Cox Plate tend to run well in it and we all know Winx won them both in 2015.
“It’s hard to fault her form and being a four-year-old mare she gets some additional weight relief even against those older mares which has to help.
“She’s a four-year-old but she’s not a four-year-old if you know what I mean – she’s a big strong mare.
“Barrier two means we get an easy first half of the race. It’s a matter of getting some luck when we want it.
“I think when you factor all those points in it equates to her being a great chance on Saturday.
“I don’t think there would be too many people that post-race wouldn’t think she wasn’t a worthy Cox Plate winner if she can do it.”
Kerrin McEvoy and Probabeel winning the Epsom Handicap earlier this month. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Originally published asHappy Birthday Mr McEvoy
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