Trainer Tony McEvoy ‘pumped’ about Hey Doc’s return
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It feels like a lifetime ago Hey Doc announced himself as a group 1 horse on this weekend in 2017, in the Australian Guineas as a three-year-old.
Thought of as a miler back then, after running third in the Caulfield Guineas as a spring three-year-old, the son of Duporth has since stamped himself as one of the country’s most consistent top-line sprinters.
Hey Doc won the Manikato in the spring. This autumn he’s being targeted at the William Reid.Credit:Racing Photos
On Saturday, the seven-year-old will race for the 30th career time as he kicks off his preparation towards next month’s group 1 William Reid.
And champion trainer Tony McEvoy is looking forward to seeing him back at the races, in the 1000-metre Bob Hoysted Handicap.
“Yeah, I am pumped, I’m very excited. The big fella, as you’ll see on Saturday, when I say the big fella I mean it,” McEvoy said laughing.
“As he gets a bit older, he’s a bit like me, it [the weight] is a bit harder to get off.
“But he’s worked really well. Luke Currie came to Ballarat this morning and just let him breeze up.
“Luke said he felt really good. He’ll need the run probably Saturday, they’ll probably be nippy for him – he needs 1200 metres really – but this will tune him up nicely for the William Reid, which is a good target for him.”
McEvoy, and son Calvin, have astutely been able to get the warhorse to peak consistently on “grand final day”.
Last year, it was in the group 1 Manikato Stakes, and before that, the group 1 Winterbottom at Ascot.
A smiling Luke Currie and Hey Doc after winning the Manikato Stakes in 2020.Credit:Getty Images
McEvoy said the 1200-metre trip at Moonee Valley was yet another ideal target for him.
“We’re not going to have time [to trial him in between runs],” McEvoy said.
“He’s had a couple of little jump outs and he’ll run second up into the William Reid. It’s perfect for him.
“He’s a pleasure, he’s a beauty. He’s a gentleman and he’s in tip-top shape.”
The same can’t be said for Goodwood Handicap winner Despatch, however, who is set to miss the autumn.
“Unfortunately Despatch has chipped a bone in his knee. He’s going to Ballarat for some surgery, which is a bugger,” McEvoy said.
Dollar For Dollar however, who gained a late call-up to last year’s The Everest, is nearing a return.
“Dollar For Dollar is great,” McEvoy said.
“He had a little soft trial yesterday at Terang. I’m a little behind in fitness for him; he had a couple of setbacks with his feet early doors. He’s back perfectly sound now but I’m going to miss the Newmarket.
“He’ll probably run in the Abell Stakes at Moonee Valley [on All-Star Mile day], the week before the William Reid.”
Along with Hey Doc, the McEvoys will also saddle three-year-old filly Celestine at Flemington on Saturday.
The daughter of Nicconi has three wins and two placings from five starts to her name, including a third-placed finish to Written Beauty in the Melbourne Cup carnival.
“Happy with Celestine,” McEvoy said.
“She’s trialled up nicely, a winner at the track and trip so I’m very pleased [with her].”
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