With Luke Currie in the saddle, Hey Doc ($14) gave nothing else a chance as he made light of his outside barrier to lead, control and run away from his rivals to win 2½ length from Vital Silver ($7) and Rock Magic ($31).
“I said to Luke ‘don’t rush, let them find their spots and then we will come across’. But he got there so easy it was incredible,” McEvoy said. “I knew he was going to be very hard to pass.”
Currie paid tribute to McEvoy and his team for the work they did to get the Australian Guineas and Manikato Stakes winner back. He knew after 200m that Hey Doc’s third group 1 was on its way at Ascot.
“He offset that gate by being very quick across and then he got it nice and easy in front,” Currie said.
“He was always jogging from when I got over. He never felt like he was going to get beaten.
“For this horse to come back from 18 months off, you can’t underestimate the effort by horse and the staff.”
While Hey Doc was on control out front, favourite Trekking ($2.90) missed the kick and Kerrin McEvoy drove through on the inside to be three back on the fence and ran into fourth late.
It was another McEvoy’s day and the trainer’s pre-race comments about his surprise at Hey Doc’s price were vindicated. He could see the improvement after a promising return when beaten in a photo in the Heffernan Stakes at Sandown two weeks ago.
“He was fabulous today, all the signs were telling us that. It has been a long campaign, about five months work, to get him back,’ McEvoy said.
“We gave him a long time with his injury and then we gave a long, slow prep, and he was very close at Sandown. He wasn’t quite there and class got him within a neck.
“To see the improvement from there to here . . . I wish I was punter, I would have had a bet.”
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald