Kerrin McEvoy can end a dream autumn on a high if Helmet confirms his favouritism in the Group One Champagne Stakes on Saturday.
After missing the majority of the spring while recovering from a fractured vertebra in his back, McEvoy can make a clean sweep of the autumn Group One two-year-old races having snared the Blue Diamond, Golden Slipper and AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes so far.
Sires’ winner Helmet can make it a Darley clean sweep of the Sydney juvenile triple crown if successful with McEvoy aboard in the Champagne Stakes (1600m).
“It’s been a dream come true,” McEvoy said of the autumn.
“I don’t like to make too big a goals for myself, I just take it week by week and I’m just chuffed to bits to have won the Golden Slipper, to have been competitive in the Derby, and to now be a chance at winning the triple crown.
“It’s been great not only for myself but for all the Darley team involved.”
Helmet overcame an interrupted preparation to win the Sires’ (1400m) at Randwick two weeks ago and McEvoy believes the colt will be perfectly suited by the step up to 1600 metres.
The youngster played up in the barriers before the Sires’ Produce Stakes at Flemington in March and had to be scratched.
He did likewise in a barrier trial in Sydney a couple of weeks later which prompted trainer Peter Snowden to bypass the Golden Slipper, won comprehensively by stablemate Sepoy who also won the Blue Diamond at Caulfield.
“He ran over 1400 metres in the Sires after seven weeks without a run and it’s fair to say he’s going to be in top condition going to the mile,” McEvoy said.
“The horse himself is getting better all the time, he’s starting to behave himself and fingers crossed he can do the same on Saturday.”
Helmet is one of three Group One rides for McEvoy on the final day of the Sydney Carnival with stablemate, Derby runner-up Retrieve, favourite to win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
The Mike Moroney-trained Tinseltown is McEvoy’s mount in the Sydney Cup where the trainer and jockey are looking to go one better than the past two years when Divine Rebel has finished runner-up in the 3200m feature.
McEvoy’s association with Tinseltown’s trainer was cemented in 2000 when he won the Melbourne Cup aboard to Moroney-trained Brew.
“Tinseltown ran all right the other day (in the Chairman’s Handicap), he got knocked over on the corner,” McEvoy said of the gelding’s seventh in the Group Two over 2600m at Randwick.
“He should have probably finished a couple of lengths closer, the two miles shouldn’t be a problem and his runs in New Zealand don’t read too bad on paper. He’d be an each-way chance.”