Tony McEvoy has attempted to keep speed in the legs of stayer Secret Blaze in a bid to claim the Group Three Easter Cup at Caulfield.
McEvoy, who trains in partnership with his son Calvin, said Secret Blaze was ticking over nicely ahead of his attempt at overturning consecutive second placings in two runs after a break.
Returning two months later, Secret Blaze ran second in the All-Star Mile qualifier, the Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on February 29 before rising to 2000m, finishing second to Easter Cup opponent Inverloch at Caulfield on March 14.
“He’s well and it seems like a nice race for him,” McEvoy said.
“We tried him as a stayer before a freshen up and he performed quite well.
“What we’re trying to keep is a bit of speed in his legs, so we’ve keep him fresh for this race and then maybe we can bring him across to Adelaide and step him up in distance for the Port Adelaide Cup.
“But he’s ticking over nicely.”
The Port Adelaide Cup (2500m) will be run at Morphettville on May 2.
McEvoy has decided on starting Vinland first-up in Saturday’s Neds Bet Back Handicap (1200m) rather than the Group Three Elvis Thurgood 40th Anniversary Cup (1400m).
He reasoned the 1200m assignment was easier for Vinland at his first outing since September.
“He’s never been able to win at 1200 metres and as he’s a bit older now he probably can’t win at 1200 metres, but the 1400 metres looked too tough a race to kick off for him,” McEvoy said.
“So long as he’s running through the line I’ll be happy.”
McEvoy has no definite plans for Vinland after Saturday’s return.
“He loves wet ground, so he’ll go where the ground’s the wettest,” he said.