Tony McEvoy’s head says Royal Symphony is racing for second in the Cox Plate.
His heart says otherwise.
McEvoy, who won the 2003 Cox Plate with Fields Of Omagh, has the three-year-old colt on target to line up against champion Winx in Saturday’s weight-for-age feature at Moonee Valley.
Winx is the $1.15 favourite to win a record-equalling third Cox Plate and her 22nd consecutive race.
Connections of Royal Symphony decided to press on and have a crack at the Cox Plate after the colt’s luckless fourth in the Group One Caulfield Guineas.
While realistic with expectations, McEvoy indicated he never goes into races with the mindset of running second.
“It’s not how I go into any race, of course, but you’ve got to be realistic in this business,” the trainer told reporters on Monday.
“She’s an incredible mare. She’s doing things that most can’t, and I think my horse will run a great race and I’m just privileged to have a horse good enough to run against her.
“So in my head we’re going for second, in my heart we’re going for first.”
Royal Symphony has been to Moonee Valley twice to gallop on the tight course.
Dean Yendall, who rides the colt at 49.5kg in the Cox Plate, had his first sit on the colt in Saturday’s work-out and will ride him in a more serious piece of work on Tuesday at Moonee Valley’s public trackwork session.
The unpredicability of racing has McEvoy hopeful rather than confident Royal Symphony can cause an upset.
“Miracles happen in races, that’s why we all dream,” he said.
“We’ve just seen some results recently, with Boom Time of course on Saturday in the Caulfield Cup. Who gave him a real chance?.
“I don’t think she can be beaten but I’m very pleased and proud that I’ve got a horse there that could be one that is going to challenge her.
“He’s bright and well and ready for his next contest,” he said.
“We haven’t told him Winx is in the race.”