Irish import Al Aabir ($2.80F) has been a model of consistency since landing on our shores and a mid-race decision by jockey Kerrin Mcevoy has seen the Chris Waller-trained gelding get his first stakes victory in the Listed Winter Cup at Rosehill.
After settling in the back half of the field in the early stages, McEvoy used his own initiative to take off around them three and four wide and put some pace into the race. There were four across the track as they turned for home with the son of See The Stars grinding over the top of them in the final stages.
He had enough on the line to out bob stablemate Desert Icon ($8) by a long head with early leader The Mediterranean ($11) a further length and a quarter back in third position in what was a brave front-running performance.
McEvoy, who with this win posted his third on the card, explained he wasn’t always wanting to be too far back.
“We flopped out of the stalls which wasn’t the plan and I was a bit worried because they were going steady and my fellow got on it and was a bit keen,” he said.
“Then they stacked up and I thought my fellow has had a few runs this prep, you’re better off being Johnny on the spot when they’re going slow around the corner rather than sitting back and letting it be too much of a dash home.
“So I got him up there and involved and full credit to the horse.”
Waller was appreciative of McEvoy’s race sense and was effusive of his jockey’s ability to change tack in the run.
“It was a bold move from Kerrin to get going as early as he did,” Waller said.
“The plan was to ride him conservative, just steady and build. But that’s the art of these good jockeys they make these decisions based on the lack of tempo, which the race was lacking in the middle stages.
“He got going and he knew what he was doing.”
When asked if he would take a similar path that his galloper Irish Sequel did in 2022 by winning the Winter Cup and then heading north to take out the Brisbane Cup, Waller was keeping open minded.
“There’s a 2600m here in two week’s time so we’ll have some consideration for that,” Waller said.
“Irish Sequel, we never intended to run in the Brisbane Cup, but the nominations were light and we sent him up there.
“The beauty of Australian racing is that you’ve got so many options.”
– RAS NewsWire