Trainer Tony McEvoy has accepted the challenge to tackle Victoria’s premier two-year-old race with Game Keeper instead of a midweek option at Sandown.
Game Keeper is one of 14 acceptors for Saturday’s Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield and will be ridden by Barend Vorster from barrier one.
Originally from South Africa, Vorster is moving to Australia to become McEvoy’s South Australian stable rider after spending 16 years in Singapore.
With regular rider Luke Currie committed to the Anthony Freedman-trained Lyre, McEvoy said Vorster would fly in to ride Game Keeper on Saturday before returning to Singapore while he waits on his visa.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Game Keeper,” McEvoy said.
“He was a certainty beaten at his first start, ran OK at his second and then came out and won very well at his third start.
“He’s a pretty good colt and will probably be better off in the Sires’ over 1400 metres, but he’s not the worst horse in this race, I can tell you.”
While Game Keeper will miss the Ladbrokes Enhanced Odds Handicap (1400m) at Sandown on Wednesday, McEvoy will still have dual representation.
Outlandos, to be ridden by Damian Lane, and Whykayoh, with Currie aboard, will face off against three other opponents.
The pair finished one-two at Pakenham on January 31 with Outlandos prevailing by 1-1/4 lengths.
McEvoy said race experience was pivotal in that result which came at Outlandos’ third start while Whykayoh made his debut in that race.
“Outlandos made really good improvement in the blinkers and has come on a lot and will like the 1400 metres,” McEvoy said.
“Whykayoh was giving away a bit of experience and at his first run and I thought he was excellent.
“Clearly they do improve from their first runs and that margin might get a bit narrower than what was between them last start.”
McEvoy said Currie was taken with the performance of Whykayoh and elected to stay with him.