Hey Doc will give away age in Friday night’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes but the grand sprinter looms a tough obstacle for his younger rivals in the $500,000 event.
Hey Doc is the only seven-year-old among the 18 William Reid Stakes nominated but his four Group 1 wins make him the highest-rated entry on 113.
The Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained sprinter has twice won The Valley’s other top sprint, the Group 1 Manikato Stakes in the spring, but hasn’t tackled the William Reid Stakes in the past.
Three horses – Redelva (1991), Toledo (2002) and Cape Of Good Hope (2005) – have won the William Reid Stakes aged seven or older in the last 30 years.
Calvin McEvoy oversaw Hey Doc’s gallop at The Valley between races on Saturday, which he said topped off the son of Duporth for Friday night’s test.
Hey Doc tired late under 63kg when resuming at Listed level at Flemington on February 27 but will be much fitter for the William Reid Stakes.
“He’d only had the one jumpout and we had the opportunity to go to another trial, but a horse like him leads easily in trials and they don’t go as fast in trials or jumpouts,” McEvoy said.
Hey Doc gets plenty of attention around the Tony and Calvin McEvoy stable. Photo: AAP Image/Vince Caligiuri.Source:AAP
“We knew he’d get more benefit from a hard run like Flemington, knowing he was not quite ready to go and he just blew out late.
“The main thing was Luke Currie got off and said he felt great and he had a big blow and that’s what we wanted to see.”
While Hey Doc has only had 30 starts, McEvoy said the top performer has had his share of injuries but has returned in fine order for his latest campaign.
“He’s had some problems with his feet, a problem with his fetlock and a problem with a pectoral muscle so he’s had his fair share of niggling injuries,” McEvoy said.
“It’s amazing what patience can do and he’s trotting now as sound as he’s ever been.”
The William Reid Stakes will be the first of two Group 1 targets for Hey Doc in his autumn campaign, with another crack at the Goodwood in Adelaide on the agenda for May.
“He’s won four Group 1 races, at ages three, four six and seven, so he’s done an amazing job,” McEvoy said.
“He’s just such a pleasure to train. He’s a big strong animal but he’s a gentleman.”
Hey Doc is an $11 chance in TAB’s ‘all-in’ market on the William Reid Stakes.
Originally published asDoc won’t give way to youth in William Reid
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