One Sydney colt has been scratched from the Caulfield Guineas Prelude but another will be out to show why he’s so highly rated when he makes his Melbourne debut.
Evacuation tackles Saturday’s 1400m Group Three Prelude at Caulfield, with his co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott convinced the race is the right lead-in for the unbeaten colt to his Group One target two weeks later.
Evacuation is the $4.60 favourite for the Prelude which will be run without the James Cummings-trained Good Standing who instead stays in Sydney for the Stan Fox Stakes.
Evacuation won his only start as a juvenile at Kembla Grange in April and resumed with a 2-3/4 length win over 1400m on heavy ground in a benchmark race for three-year-olds at Rosehill on August 27.
“We wanted to get him a bit more seasoned before stepping into some of the more difficult races against stiffer competition,” Bott said.
“So that race first-up was a starting point and he did it well and won impressively.”
Evacuation was sent to the stable’s Flemington base the following week so he had time to settle in and get used to working in the anti-clockwise direction.
“The Caulfield Guineas has always been the target and we looked at a few different options as to what was the best way to get to that race and try to get the desired result,” Bott said.
“We felt this was the best stepping stone. Importantly it will give him a good look around Caulfield. The two weeks into the Guineas is ideal and traditionally it’s the right lead-up.
“We certainly expect him to be very competitive on Saturday and we just want to see him get around in good order.”
Evacuation, who is on the fourth line of Caulfield Guineas betting at $8, faces his first stakes test but Bott says he is up to the challenge.
“He deserves his chance at a race like this and we think he’ll handle the step with ease,” he said.
The trainers took the chance to work Evacuation at Moonee Valley on Monday and Bott said he was on the right lead leg at the right times and handled it well.
The Cox Plate at Moonee Valley is an option next month should Evacuation keep stepping up, but the Guineas is the immediate focus.
Kerrin McEvoy, who has won three of the past five Guineas Preludes, retains the ride on Evacuation.