Tony and Calvin McEvoy will chase his third Manikato Stakes win in the past five years after the first-up win of Savatoxl at Caulfield.
A former Northern Territory-trained galloper, Savatoxl scored in the Group 1 The Goodwood at Morphettville in May, before landing the prize in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) on Saturday.
The Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) is run at The Valley on October 22 and Savatoxl will attempt to give Tony and Calvin McEvoy back-to-back wins in the race after McEvoy senior trained that galloper to victory in 2017.
Luke Currie, who rode Hey Doc in both of those Manikato victories, was aboard Savatoxl ($6) for the first time on Saturday and guided the gelding to a nose victory over Dosh ($10) with Bella Nipotina ($3.90) a short-head away third.
Savatoxl was trained by Will Savage and Gary Clarke when prepared in Alice Springs and Darwin respectively early in his career before transferring to the McEvoys last year.
After running third in the Balaklava Cup at his first start for the stable, Tony McEvoy questioned whether he ran out a strong 1600m before dropping him back in trip.
“He came to me in such great order and in form,” McEvoy said.
“We tried him a couple of times at 1400 (metres) but at this level I knew that he needed up to 1200 metres max and he’s turned out a great short course horse.
“The guys in ‘Alice’ had such great faith in this horse and I was pleased that they made the phone call to send him down to us.
“That’s his 17th win. What a culture that is.
“Gee we’re excited to have him back. He was doing everything so easily that I thought he may have just needed it.
“But that was a strung-out race. They went very quick, and it just shows how tough he is.”