Tony McEvoy has a number of quality three-year-old fillies in his stable and the trainer is hoping Hikaya can add her name to the city winners’ list when she returns to Melbourne racing at Sandown.
Hikaya broke through for her first win at her fourth start when she resumed with a 1-1/2 length victory over 1200m in a Gawler maiden on August 8.
That performance was enough for McEvoy to bring Hikaya to Melbourne for Wednesday’s Ladbrokes Back Yourself Handicap at Sandown against her own age, stepping up to 1400m in the benchmark-70 race.
“I like her,” McEvoy said.
“She was stiff not to win at Sandown at the end of her last preparation and I think she’s improved.
“She’s certainly 70 grade but she’s taking on the boys, of course, on Wednesday.”
Hikaya was a close third in a 1200m-maiden on the Sandown Lakeside course at the end of her previous preparation.
Hikaya was at $7 on Tuesday in a field of seven with the Mick Price-trained Fighting Harada $2 favourite.
The filly will be ridden by Luke Currie, who does the bulk of riding for the McEvoy stable in Melbourne, but the jockey will not be aboard stablemate Illumicon in the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap (1200m).
Currie has ridden Illumicon in five of his six starts, including a first-up win at Sandown last month.
He was aboard last start when the four-year-old finished ninth in a 1200m benchmark-70 straight-track race at Flemington.
Currie angled from the middle of the track, where Illumicon was leading, to near the outside last start, a decision McEvoy labelled “a brain fade”.
McEvoy said the pair had had a discussion about it later that day and had put it behind them, and Currie won five races for the stable in the next week including a double at Caulfield on Saturday.
However, Craig Williams has been booked to ride Illumicon who is the $4.40 favourite for Wednesday’s race.
McEvoy is hoping the gelding bounces back to winning ways.
After his first-up win at Sandown, McEvoy had pinpointed the Group One Toorak Handicap as a possible target for Illumicon if he could keep stepping up.
“I’ll just try to get him back to where I was aiming,” McEvoy said.