Victoria Derby day looms as an important day for prominent trainer Tony McEvoy who is upbeat about his chances of an overdue Group One win.
McEvoy has Silvera in Saturday’s main event and while the trainer believes the up and coming three-year-old is capable of a big showing if the occasion doesn’t get the better of him, it is in-form mare Don’t Don’t Mamma who shapes as his best Group One hope in the 2016 Myer Classic.
McEvoy achieved Group One success, including the 2003 Cox Plate with Fields Of Omagh, during his four-year stint as head trainer of the Lindsay Park team but is striving for his first elite-level victory since starting his own training venture – McEvoy Mitchell Racing – in 2010.
“For me and my brand, I need a Group One now,” McEvoy said.
“This is my sixth year in my new venture and I’ve done a lot of planning and a lot of building, getting my team up and I’ve got a very young squad.
“We made a plan that from this year the next couple of years are going to be our chance to be very competitive.
“So it’s very exciting to have them there. It’s a great credit to my staff and my model and my facilities. And now we just need a little bit of luck on race day, like everybody.
“It would mean a lot to me obviously to win, but just to be there on the day and be playing at this level is what I want to be and where I want to be.”
Don’t Doubt Mamma has won the Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) and Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Group Two level at her past two starts and McEvoy believes she deserves a next tier win.
“She’s just right in the zone. She’s such a push-button mare to train and she’s as good as she can be coming into this,” McEvoy said.
“She loves Flemington. She loves a mile. If I could change something, I’d prefer a better gate (13). But Dwayne Dunn knows her, loves her and has faith in her and D Dunn at Flemington doesn’t need my help.”
Dunn won the Myer Classic on Politeness last year.
The Stocks Stakes was an opportunity for McEvoy to test Don’t Doubt Mamma over 1600m against mares.
“She showed us she’s strong at a mile so we’re coming into this race quite buoyant,” he said.
Don’t Doubt Mamma is at $6 behind Group One winner First Seal ($4.40) who won the Group Two Tristarc Stakes two weeks ago.
“I’ve got huge respect for First Seal,” McEvoy said.
“But I don’t think we’ve seen the best of my mare. I reckon she can take another step. And we’re going to find out tomorrow.”