Stakes winner Jimando is no stranger to winning at Flemington and his trainer Tony McEvoy is convinced he is capable of doing so again on Saturday providing he handles straight racing.
Five-year-old Jimando has won twice at Flemington when he was a three-year-old but both were over 1400m.
Saturday’s Isca Handicap, however, will be the first time the gelding has raced down the straight 1200m course in his six starts at the track.
“He’s a genuine winning chance in this race if he handles the straight,” McEvoy said.
“He has got a real love for Flemington. Some of his best performances have been over the 1400 metres at Flemington.
“If he’s as effective down the straight he’ll be right in the mix.”
Jimando always promised plenty, winning the Debutants Stakes on debut as a two-year-old and he was the first colt home in the 2012 Blue Diamond when finishing fourth to Samaready.
He added a second Listed win during his three-year-old season in the Henry Bucks Stakes at Flemington.
While he might never reach his full potential after a couple of injuries he has had to recover from in the past two years, McEvoy is delighted to have the gelding back and insists he still has something to offer on the racetrack.
Jimando spent almost a year on the sidelines because of a suspensory injury and then resumed last May but was again sidelined after his second start of the campaign when he tore a muscle in his hindquarters.
He resumed with victory over 1000m in Adelaide this month and McEvoy has been thrilled with his progress since.
“He bounced out of that run in Adelaide beautifully,” he said.
McEvoy has Jimando among nominations for the $1 million Newmarket Handicap but admitted that was not really in his sights.
“He’s a good galloper this horse,” he said.
“And if he happened to find two or three lengths he could be competitive in a Newmarket, and if you’re not in you’re not in. So that’s why he’s in there.
“(But) It’s not on his program.
“I just want to win some races with him. I just want to place him to stay in form.”