A year after training the quinella in the Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise Classic, Tony McEvoy again has chances in the $200,000 race at Ballarat.
Despatch defeated stablemate Nistaan in the 1000m-race a year ago and McEvoy has two fillies having their first starts in Saturday’s race with Our Toninicconi the favourite at $3.80 and First Diamond at $9.
Both have been to Ballarat a couple of times for jump-outs in the clockwise direction.
Our Toninicconi bombed the start by several lengths in her first jump-out before regrouping to trial nicely.
In her most recent she finished strongly to win her heat after another slow start.
“She was good late when she balanced up,” McEvoy said.
“That’s at trial pace. Race pace is so much different to that, so hopefully she can keep her shape when they’re going quicker and I hope she’s got enough time to finish off.”
First Diamond finished third in her most recent jump-out won by the Darren Weir-trained Native Soldier who is at $6.50 on Saturday, and McEvoy is happy with his pair leading into the race.
“They’ve seemed quite comfortable around that way,” he said.
“Both have got to get a bit better at leaving the barriers. Certainly Our Toninicconi has been slow away each time.
“But they’re learning and I’ve been pretty comfortable with them that they’re nice and sound and handling the training for this race, so we’re there.”
McEvoy believes both are going to be at their best over further than 1000m.
“I think if the race was 1200 I would be more comfortable and I think they’ve both got really good attributes to be good three-year-olds,” he said.
“But we’re there because they’ve taken us there and they’re happy and and showing me enough.
“I galloped them together last week and there was a neck between them, so nothing in it.”
The trainer also has Despacito entered but as fifth emergency the filly looks unlikely to gain a start.