Tony McEvoy admits Vinland could be giving away a fitness edge in the Group Two Sandown Guineas but the trainer has no doubts about the colt’s class to compete at that level.
McEvoy is sending Vinland into Saturday’s Sandown Guineas over 1600m at his second start of the campaign after a lengthy lay-off due to knee surgery.
Vinland was a convincing winner in a Bendigo maiden over 1400m in his return on November 1, just his third career start, and McEvoy thinks enough of the colt to give him a crack at the late spring feature for three-year-olds.
“He was an impressive winner last start in a maiden and he’s going straight to a Group Two mile second-up, so it’s a bit of a tough ask for him,” McEvoy said.
“But I’ve got enough faith in the horse to do it.
“He’s taking on some hard-fit horses and he’s not fully wound-up being at a mile second-up. But if he’s beaten it will be because of lack of preparation, probably.”
McEvoy said the time to recover from the knee surgery put Vinland behind the eight-ball for the spring but the trainer has had the Sandown Guineas in mind as a late-carnival option.
“Hopefully he’s up to what I’m asking him to do,” McEvoy said.
“I think he’s a high-class horse. He’s definitely a Group-class performer. I’ve got no questions about his class, I just hope he’s forward enough fitness-wise to run out a strong mile.”
He believes Vinland can be a Guineas contender in the autumn.
Vinland galloped at Sandown on Tuesday and McEvoy said the colt’s work was excellent but he also had a bit of a blow.
Vinland’s chances have been helped by drawing barrier three in the field of 11.
“He’ll have a nice economical run which is what he needs,” McEvoy said.
Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir has accepted for Snitzepeg and Peaceful State while trainer Aaron Purcell has Black Sail and Villermont.
Peter and Paul Snowden also have two runners, Hypnotist and Icon Of Dubai.
Peter Snowden won the race four times between 2008 and 2013 when he was head trainer in Australia for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation will be represented by the James Cummings-trained Beau Geste.