Trainer Tony McEvoy is planning to have two runners in the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final with city winner The Astrologist to be joined by maiden filly Night Passage.
Saturday’s Taj Rossi Final over 1600m for two-year-olds is one of three Listed races on the winter Flemington Finals Day program along with the Winter Championship Series Final and the Victorian Sprint Series Final.
McEvoy won the Taj Rossi Final two years ago with Royal Symphony while last year the McEvoy-trained Scottish Rogue was a close second to Good ‘N’ Fast.
The Astrologist has had a good campaign, winning a Cranbourne maiden first-up from a spell on May 17 before beating subsequent city winner Can’t Be Done over 1200m at Caulfield on June 1 in a heat of the series.
He carried 59 kilograms last Saturday week at Flemington when 2-1/4-lengths second to impressive filly Rubisaki over 1400m.
“The Astrologist was really tough last start,” McEvoy’s Melbourne stable foreman Michael Shepherdson said.
“He drew a horrible barrier and went forward but he toughed it out with a big weight.
“He has pulled up well.
“The way he is physically, you’d think he should handle the trip. So it will be a good test to see how he might measure up in the spring.”
While The Astrologist is stepping up to 1600m for the first time, stablemate Night Passage has already raced over the distance when a close second in a Swan Hill maiden for two and three-year-olds in her second start on June 9.
Night Passage contested a heat of the series over 1200m on debut at Flemington on May 25, finishing fifth to Sebrakate.
“Night Passage is a filly we really like,” Shepherdson said.
“We took her to Swan Hill to try to win a maiden over a mile and she just got out a little bit later than we liked and was still a bit green.
“She ran really well so Tony thinks enough of her to give her a crack at the Final.
“She has been to the mile before which most of them haven’t. So that will be her asset.”