TONY McEvoy and his former globe-trotting nephew Kerrin combined for one of their biggest successes together when they landed the listed $170,000 Albury Gold Cup with French import Kourkam yesterday.
The trainer and jockey have individually claimed some of Australia’s biggest races including the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup, but the win of Queensland-bound Kourkam was among the most lucrative they have shared.
The McEvoys both captured the Albury Cup at their first attempts with the trainer plotting a path to Queensland for the Brisbane and Doomben cups later this year with Kourkam.
Race club officials last night estimated the crowd at about 16,000 people, but many regular racegoers felt the attendance was down on previous years.
They still cheered home 3.80 chance Kourkam, who beat Verdant by a half-length with another raider and 3.00 race favourite Self Sense a further three quarters of a length away third.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Queenstown finished fourth ahead of the first local hope home, the Brett Cavanough-trained Price Of Glory, who has finished in the top-five in the last three Gold Cups.
But Cavanough plundered the carnival riches again by winning the Albury Guineas for the first time with Loved Up and completed a hat-trick of Flat Knacker triumphs with Corsica Lad.
The two cup day features followed on from his breakthrough win in the City Hcp with The Monstar on Thursday.
Action wasn’t confined to the track on a cool cup day with temperatures remaining in the low 20s.
Melbourne couple Tom Langford and Miranda Clarke cleaned up in the fashion stakes which were judged by celebrity duo Kris Smith and Nikki Phillips.
The millinery went to another visitor Debbie Parish from the ACT.
Inside the committee tent, newly elected Commercial Club president Graeme Edgar made his debut speech on behalf of the major sponsor only hours after celebrating the City Hcp success of The Monstar, which he part-owns.
Election rivals Greg Aplin and Ross Jackson were also getting into the cup spirit ahead of their big contest today.
Kerrin McEvoy, who rode Corowa-trained Leica Falcon into fourth place in the Melbourne Cup a decade, made a mad dash back to Melbourne after the race to ride at Moonee Valley.
He rode more than 500 winners in an 11-year association with the powerful Godolphin stable before quitting last year.
Godolphin also made its presence felt on Gold Cup day with two winners, Subservient and Monogram.
McEvoy’s uncle has runners at the Rosehill Guineas meeting in Sydney today, but is excited about what lies in store with Kourkam.
“He has got class and there is lots to look forward to when we get him up in distance,” McEvoy said.
“This is his third solid prep in Australia and it will be his best.
“A lot of horses have been through the autumn in Melbourne and are going through the autumn in Sydney at the moment.
“This horse is building nice momentum going forward.”
Kourkam has been racing in Melbourne this preparation and used the Gold Cup as a stepping stone towards a Queensland winter campaign.
“It is a good race and $170,000 makes it very appealling,” McEvoy said.
“I will be back.”
Fellow Albury trainers Kym Davison and Andrew Dale also savoured cup day success.
Davison took out the Adrian Ledger Memorial with 41.00 bolter Dudley Breeze and Dale scored a breakthrough training success with Itsmycall.
Dale is a former Ovens and Murray Football League coach at Myrtleford and turned his hand to racehorse training last October.
He has a small team at his Albury base and thanked the support of another local trainer, Rob Wellington, in his formative and frustrating first few months as a trainer.
The meeting wasn’t without incident when the Albury Guineas field made a false start which pushed back the starting times for the Gold Cup and Flat Knacker.
ALBURY GOLD CUP COVERAGE