McEvoy out to break Randwick mile hoodoo

Kerrin McEvoy will ride Ranier in the Group Two Villiers Stakes.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy will be chasing his first win in the Villiers Stakes when he rides Ranier.

Among a plethora of victories in major races, Kerrin McEvoy can boast three Melbourne Cups, two Everests and a Golden Slipper.

But incredibly, the top jockey has never won any of the three big mile handicap races at Randwick.

While the Group Two Villiers Stakes (1600m) might no longer carry the prestige and status of the Doncaster Mile and Epsom Handicap, it remains the centrepiece of Sydney’s summer racing action.

And it is a race McEvoy remains determined to add to his portfolio.

“I might have run second and been close in a finish but I’ve never won one,” McEvoy said.

“These big handicap races are the ones we keep trying to aim at and they’re all enjoyable to win.”

One of Australia’s most successful jockeys, McEvoy will get an ideal opportunity to break his hoodoo aboard the James Cummings-trained Ranier in the Villiers on Saturday.

The progressive four-year-old turned in two strong performances in mile races over the Sydney and Melbourne spring carnivals before scoring a last-stride win in the Festival Stakes.

That race has historically been a good form reference for the Villiers, although the addition this year of The Gong at Kembla Grange adds a new twist for punters.

While The Gong runner-up Quackerjack remains the solid Villiers favourite, McEvoy believes Ranier has the right profile and says the horse has turned the corner this season, highlighted by his Festival victory for Kathy O’Hara.

“It was a good stylish win last time,” McEvoy said.

“He was gelded before this preparation and I think that might have been the making of him.

“James has been patient with him and I think he is reaping the rewards this time through.

“Now he’s an older horse, he is a bit stronger and he looks a nice chance in this race.”

Ranier kicked off his current preparation in August and will be lining up for his eighth campaign start in the Villiers.

While it might appear taxing, McEvoy says Cummings has the right system in place to keep his horses mentally and physically fresh.

“James is all over giving them freshen-ups and with the properties he has he can utilise them well, so I wouldn’t be too worried by that,” he said.

McEvoy could be set for a fruitful afternoon at Randwick with rides in three of the four feature races.

He also partners the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Wild Ruler in the $500,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) and Glenall for Team Hawkes in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1100m).

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments