McEvoy Sees Millennium As Ideal Stepping Stone For Royale

Where Rue De Royale stands in the two-year-old picture will become clearer when he resumes at Randwick on Saturday and co-trainer Tony McEvoy is confident he’s worthy of being aimed at the looming majors.

The colt already has experience in Sydney with his eye-catching second in the Golden Gift back in November and McEvoy believes he’s well placed in the $2 million Inglis Millennium (1100m).

“It’s a restricted race and he’s not a restricted horse,’’ McEvoy said.

“I think he will handle himself very well and as long as he gets a reasonable run, and doesn’t make any mistakes, he’ll be around the mark.”

McEvoy and son Calvin won the Millennium in 2022 with Xtravagant Star and the stable had no hesitation in linking up again with jockey Chad Schofield, who rode that filly and is in line for a hat-trick in the race having won last year on Learning To Fly.

Schofield rode Rue De Royale in the Golden Gift and after giving away a big start clocked a race best 34.03 for his last 600m and 11.49 last 200m (Punter’s Intelligence) as he ran Shangri La Express to just over a length.

“He ran well in Sydney last time so we thought we’d set him for this first-up,’’ McEvoy said.

“He was a bit stiff not to run a bit closer but he was very pleasing.

“Chad’s a high class rider and he’s ridden my horses very well so I have no reason not to use him.

“He’s had a feel of the horse, he likes him and he was very keen to stay on him.”

McEvoy was happy enough with the colt’s middle barrier draw given the likelihood he’ll settle off the pace and said he’s had an ideal build up with a jump out and a second in a Geelong barrier trial just over a week ago.

He was a $7 chance with TAB on Wednesday.

“He had a nice strong hitout, just to open his lungs up, and I thought he trialled nicely,’’ he said.

“His trial at Caulfield before that was excellent as well and I think the horse is coming along really well, he’s done nothing wrong.

“We’ll be patient on him, we won’t be in a rush and Chad can just bide his time, get behind the right horses, and hopefully he’s good enough.”

Rue De Royale is currently a $34 chance in all-in betting on the $5 million TAB Golden Slipper and it’s possible a strong performance in the Millennium will see him set for the world’s richest two-year-old race.

“He’ll come home after this and we’ll reassess where we go next but all options are available as he’s a good quality horse,’’ McEvoy said.

– Racing NSW

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