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Tony McEvoy prepares stakes-winning filly Xilong for the $1 million Inglis Sprint at Warwick Farm

The prospect of a heavy track at Warwick Farm is the unknown factor for trainer Tony McEvoy as he prepares stakes-winning filly Xilong for the $1 million Inglis Sprint.

Xilong has won four of her six starts including the Listed Twilight Glow Stakes (1400m) at Sandown at the end of her spring campaign.

McEvoy, who trains in partnership with his son Calvin, has pinpointed Saturday’s lucrative sales-restricted race for three-year-olds over 1200m for the well-bred filly’s return and has been delighted with her lead-up.

But he said he was uncertain how Xilong might fare if the predicted rain came, given she has had five of her starts on good tracks and the other on a soft (5).

“I’m not totally comfortable with the forecast,” McEvoy said.

“It looks like it’s going to be heavy. Her mum was OK on a heavy and she has trialled OK on a heavy track but really I don’t know.

“But she’s going very well. She won a trial last week at Gawler and she seems in really good order.

“It’s a restricted $1 million race. It looks pretty good to me.”

McEvoy believes getting in with 54kg in Saturday’s set weights race makes Xilong attractively placed and the trainer has been able to secure his nephew, Kerrin McEvoy, to ride.

Xilong is by Deep Field out of Pane In The Glass, who was second in the 2011 Group One Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old on a heavy track and won the Group Three Silver Shadow Stakes on a heavy track later that year.

McEvoy said Xilong lived up to his expectations when she was able to secure a stakes win in the spring.

“I think she has got stronger and bigger and better which she will need to be because she’s going to be going up to higher heights again,” he said.

“After this run she’ll go towards the Surround Stakes, a Group One race for fillies and then probably the Coolmore Classic.”

The Surround (1400m) at Randwick is on February 29 with the Group One Coolmore Classic (1500m) for fillies and mares at Rosehill on March 14.

The Chris Waller-trained True Detective was the early $4 favourite on Tuesday for the Sprint while Xilong ($7) was one of four runners at single figure odds.

 
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