Done deal: jockey Robert Thompson unsaddles Prince Capers after scoring at Rosehill. The eight-year-old returns in the Winter SDtakes on Saturday. Photo: Jenny EvansHe says ”all the moons need to line up” for Prince Of Capers to create an impression at stakes level, but it has not stopped dual-state trainer Tony McEvoy from naming the rising eight-year-old as his flagbearer in Sydney.
The chestnut helped McEvoy land his first metropolitan win in NSW since opening up a permanent base at Hawkesbury, but loftier targets beckon, beginning with the listed $100,000 Winter Stakes (1400 metres) at Rosehill on Saturday. It is likely to be the gelding’s only start before tackling the revamped Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) on his home track, brought forward to August in the new season.
An improving Rosehill surface is likely to hamper the Winter Stakes prospects of Prince Of Capers, proven on rain-affected ground, but it has not dampened McEvoy enthusing about his charge’s chances on the minimum weight.
”He’s an older horse and as a seven-year-old he really appreciates having these freshen-ups,” McEvoy said. ”I’ve had quite a bit of success doing that with him.
”He’s worked really nicely this week and he’s telling me he’s looking forward to getting back to the races. The question mark with him is, is he stakes class? I believe he is listed class … I’m not sure he’s a group horse. He just needs all the moons lined up for him to win a stakes race and it has to be this time of the year when there’s some give in the tracks.”
The rain-sodden tracks have held McEvoy back from adding to his arsenal in NSW, likely to rise to 20 horses in a fortnight. Adelaide’s premier trainer will send runners to metropolitan meetings in NSW, Victoria and South Australia on Saturday, but it’s the chance to build his Sydney client base that excites him.
”It’s a really fantastic complex [at Hawkesbury] and the most important thing is the horses are doing well,” McEvoy said. ”The main reason I came here was not because of the money, but because I wanted to grow my owner base, which I was finding difficult in Adelaide.
”I thought I’d make the move and the people have responded really well. The impressive thing about my Hawkesbury base is that within two hours there are 17 tracks that race from $15,000 to $100,000 [in stakes]. The options it gives me, my horses and my owners is incredible.”
Which means talented mare Endless Shadow could be another to join Prince Of Capers in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup if she pleases at Morphettville. ”If she runs as I expect on Saturday, I haven’t even discussed this with the owners of her, but it’s a race that may suit her as well,” McEvoy said. ”It will be interesting to see how she runs on Saturday.”
Last year’s Hawkesbury Gold Cup winner Darci Be Good returns from a lengthy injury lay-off in the Winter Stakes, which includes a Gai Waterhouse. One of these is early favourite Under The Sun ($3.80), to be ridden by Thomas Huet. Hugh Bowman, clinging to a 5½-win lead in the jockeys’ title race, will partner Waterhouse’s Kontiki Park, while Kathy O’Hara is on board Kinnersley.
Darci Be Good will be inspected by stewards at Rosehill after recovering from a degenerative complaint in a cannon bone.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.