A HIT and run mission on the Albury Gold Cup by jockey Kerrin McEvoy paid the ultimate dividend when Kourkam scored a decisive win in the $170,000 feature yesterday.
McEvoy flew into Albury on the morning of the race for two rides, including Kourkam, for his uncle, Tony McEvoy.
The 2000 Melbourne Cup-winning jockey left shortly
after the presentation alongside fellow hoop Tim Clark to catch a chartered flight back to Melbourne to ride at last night’s meeting at Moonee Valley.
Kourkam ($3.80) settled well back in the field early and was hooked out wide on the home turn to set after race favourite Self Sense ($3), who shot out to a three-length lead on straightening.
The French import proved too strong down the home straight to defeat Verdant ($6) by ½-length, with Self Sense battling on well for third.
The victory handed both McEvoys victory in the Border’s premier race at their first attempt.
Kerrin McEvoy said the victory didn’t come without some anxious moments after Kourkam jumped tardily.
“I was following World Wide from the 600 metres but the horse in front of him was going nowhere,” he said.
“I thought ‘my horse has done no work and I just have to get out and get into the race’.
“He surprised me how quickly he got to them 400 metres out.
“It was a good effort by the horse because he had to really tough it out over the concluding stages.”
Kourkam started his career in France and arrived at Tony McEvoy’s stables early last year as a maiden.
The four-year-old won his Australian debut in a maiden at Hawkesbury and has quickly built an impressive record with five wins from 13 starts.
Yesterday’s $102,000 winning cheque sent his career earnings soaring past the $250,000 mark.
Tony McEvoy said the horse will likely head to Sydney before a possible trip to Brisbane for races such as the group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) and the group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
“Obviously he is going to meet a better class of horse up there,” Kerrin said.
“But he is a little horse that hasn’t had that many starts in Australia and has been in the money plenty of times.
“We are yet to see the best of him.”
The Brett Cavanough-trained Price Of Glory was the first local home in fifth.
Last year’s runner-up was attempting to win the Albury Gold Cup first-up from a three-month spell and lost no admirers after running home strongly from the tail of the field.
“I was over the moon with how Price Of Glory performed,” Cavanough said.
“There would have been a lot of critics who would have had my neck stretched out over the chopping block, tackling the cup first-up over 10 furlongs, if the horse had got beaten 100 yards.
“But the horse justified my faith in him by running fifth and picked up $3400.
“We have got all the 2000-metre country cups coming up with him now and something to look forward to.”
WHAT THE JOCKEYS SAID
“Had no luck, got caught three wide and was a spent force by the turn.”MATTHEW CAHILL (JO-JO GIRL)
“Just went fair.”Sam Clipperton (Faust )
“He ran super, they’ve done a marvellous job getting him back to his best, and he went one better today.”Brendan Avdulla (Verdant)
“Caught back in the field and did well to the turn, but just couldn’t keep up with the others.”Jye McNeil (Murdoch’s Joy)
“Thought he was going to run top three, just didn’t get 2000m.”Jake Duffy (Bringenbrong)
“Just didn’t relax, tearaway leader really revved my horse up, didn’t switch off, was left out in front too long and got tired late.”Tye Angland (Self Sense)
“She ran really well, much improved effort, she’s back on track now.”Tim Clark (Queenstown)
“Good tempo in the race, he had nice formlines coming in, set him alight at the 600 and he was good enough to do the job for me.”Kerrin McEvoy (Kourkant)
“Ran super first up over 2000 metres.”Richard Bensley (Price of Glory)
ALBURY GOLD CUP COVERAGE