Two Grafton Cup contenders have emerged at Rosehill giving Kerrin McEvoy a choice to make.
Not long after he rode the David Vandyke-trained Maurus to an all-the-way win over 1900m, McEvoy was on the front foot again to steer Kapour to an impressive win in Saturday’s Listed Winter Cup for his close friend Ciaron Maher.
McEvoy and Maher were apprentices together in South Australia and the jockey rode Srikandi for Maher to Group One wins in the Stradbroke Handicap and Tattersall’s Tiara over the Brisbane winter carnival.
Vandyke has always had the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) on July 9 in mind for Maurus and Maher confirmed from Flemington it is now an option for the imported Kapour.
Sent to Sydney to find softer going, Kapour ($8) led all the way to post a 4-1/2 length win over Bonfire ($4.60) with the favourite, last-start Ipswich Cup winner Danchai ($3.70) another length third.
McEvoy, who spent many years riding for Godolphin in the northern hemisphere, said Kapour was a typical European stayer which had taken time to adapt.
“Ciaron said if I had to go to the front so be it,” McEvoy said.
“He revelled in the going and was just too strong.”
Maher, who won the 2013 Grafton Cup with Mr O’Ceirin, said Kapour’s win brought the country feature into play.
“It wasn’t really a plan, but it looks a nice option now,” Maher said.
“He’s done a good job and I’m keen to get up there again.”
Maher thought Bonfire was the obvious leader but when McEvoy told him the Gai Waterhouse-trained stayer had been getting further back in his races, the jockey was given the go-ahead to lead if he had to.
Maurus is one of three horses Vandyke trains for prominent owner Paul Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds.
“It’s great to train for Paul and this horse will go to Grafton,” Vandyke said.
“I’ve never had a runner there and I’m looking forward to it.”
Maurus ($6) beat Loophole ($9) by a length to earn the trip north.