Kerrin McEvoy is confident star colt Sepoy will run a super race against older and more seasoned opposition in Friday night’s Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper winner has been superior against his own age, winning seven of his eight starts.
The Group One 1200m feature sprint will answer the question of whether he can continue that dominance against older gallopers.
McEvoy said his “ability levels” would stand him in good stead.
“He’s beaten his own age really well and now he has to meet the elite level against the older horses and obviously More Joyous is going to be a hard nut to crack,” McEvoy said.
“He doesn’t ride like he’s just a three-year-old and I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t run a super race on Friday night.
“It’s hard to line them up, but she’s (More Joyous) going to be hard to beat, no doubt, so we have to go in with all guns blazing.”
McEvoy has been happy with everything Sepoy has done in the lead-up to his first weight-for-age test.
The Elusive Quality three-year-old won the Vain Stakes (1100m) first-up at Caulfield and the Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington and since then has trialled brilliantly at Cranbourne and handled Moonee Valley in two familiarisation workouts.
“He’s come on again and Peter’s (Snowden) happy with him and says he’s really starting to tighten up which is what you want to see at his third run back,” McEvoy said.
“He trialled super the other day and both times he’s been to the Valley he’s got around like he’s been there before.”
Sepoy, who drew barrier one in the eight-horse field, has opened $1.90 favourite with TAB Sportsbet which has More Joyous at $2.80 with Atomic Force next best at $11.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse is very happy with five-time Group One winner More Joyous who drew barrier four.
The winner of 14 races from 19 starts, including four of her five first-up outings, she has had a thorough preparation with three barrier trials and two exhibition gallops between races in Sydney in recent weeks.
“She’s ready to win, it just might take a better colt that beats her. It will be a great race,” Waterhouse said.
“I’m hugely looking forward to it. He (Sepoy) is the horse to beat, he’s a really good horse.”
More Joyous, who has won two Group Ones in Melbourne, ran fifth in the Cox Plate last spring, a race she is bypassing this year.
“She heads towards the Myer (Classic) and it’s the most winnable race for her,” Waterhouse said.
The More Than Ready five-year-old arrived at Flemington on Monday and has done well this week.
“Steve Dennett, my racing manager, says she’s settled right back in. She’s a non-fuss mare,” Waterhouse said.
Nash Rawiller is after his third Manikato on More Joyous having upset the great mare Sunline aboard Piavonic in 2001 and winning on Typhoon Zed in 2008.
McEvoy is after his second having won on Danleigh in 2009.