There are three group 1s around the country on Saturday and Darley’s retained jockey Kerrin McEvoy doesn’t have a ride in any of them, but he is happy to be on a support act that could be the real star in Guelph.
The planning for the massive Darley operation comes down to where it is best to have McEvoy, and it was an easy decision when Guelph lines up in the Surround Stakes at Warwick Farm.
”The team felt it was best to be in Sydney with her,” McEvoy said. ”She is pretty special. Of course Appearance was going to be in the Chipping Norton as well, which would have been a great ride, but she had to miss it because of a problem that happens in racing.
”It is a little bit strange not to have a group 1 ride but Guelph, Memorial and Barbed make up for it.”
Guelph suffered a shock defeat in the Light Fingers Stakes two weeks ago but trainer Peter Snowden and McEvoy are confident she will be better suited at 1400 metres.
”You could see what was going to happen after they went 50m in the Light Fingers,” Snowden said. ”She was stuck out three-wide over a trip which was below her best and they ran 1.09. I have put it behind me, and she has impressed me as she always has after that run.”
McEvoy was injured on Light Fingers day – the result of a fall in New Zealand, but is back in the saddle on Guelph, where he has won four group 1s. ”I’m confident, even from the [bad] draw, at seven [furlongs 1400m] she is better suited and the way she has worked suggests she is ready,” he said. ”It is just enjoyable any time you can get on her back.”
Two-year-old filly Memorial, a two-time winner before Christmas, returns to make her press towards the Golden Slipper, via the Lonhro Plate at Warwick Farm.
”Her form from before Christmas has stood up with Press Report [running second in the Silver Slipper], which is encouraging,” McEvoy said. ”She is stronger and will tell us whether she is up to the Golden Slipper in the next couple of weeks. She is no Earthquake, but she is one we think is up to the Golden Slipper.”
Darley will go to Canberra on Sunday where Guelph’s half-brother Ghibellines will run in the Black Opal. ”He might suffer a bit from being her brother but he has shown us enough to suggest he is very good,” McEvoy said.