Ballarat move already paying dividends for McEvoy's

The McEvoy's, father-and-son training partners Tony and Calvin, have hit the ground running from their new stable at Ballarat which will ultimately see their Flemington base close by the end of the month. 

Pagasi, a two-year-old maiden winner at Geelong on Friday, was the stable’s first runner from the new base which is complimented by the Kildalton Park at Angaston in the Barossa Valley of South Australia. 

Coolth, a winner at Flemington on Saturday, was officially listed as being trained from that track, but Calvin McEvoy said post-race the Group 2 Adelaide Cup hopeful had been floated to Ballarat for some work on the uphill track following his most recent outing last month. 

McEvoy said there was already 14 horses stabled at Ballarat, another 10 to 12 due this week with the remainder by the end of the month. 

“By the end of January, Flemington will be done and dusted,” McEvoy said. 

“We considered keeping it as well, but just with the numbers we probably didn’t have the numbers to service three places. 

“It’s going to be very sad to leave Flemington but we’re pretty excited by what we’ve been able to build with the help of the Ballarat Turf Club.” 

Calvin McEvoy with Hey Doc after winning the 2020 Group 1 Manikato Stakes at The Valley, picture Racing Photos

In recent months McEvoy has been picking the brains of fellow Ballarat trainers David Eustace, who trains in partnership with Ciaron Maher, and Archie Alexander. 

He has used that to formulate systems at the new base, although the stable is well equipped having prepared horses on the hills at Angaston along with the flatter tracks at Flemington. 

“It’s still very much feeling our way and doing little bits and pieces and seeing what works,” he said. 

“I’m getting great confidence out of how the trainers from Ballarat are doing. Archie, Matt (Cumani), Mitch (Freedman), they’re all going really well and it shows me the place works and that’s what gives us confidence.” 

Another positive from the move McEvoy sees is the later morning starts. 

McEvoy said 5am starts the day, although he admitted to being in earlier, while the first horses don’t hit the track until 6am whereas it was 4.45am at Flemington. 

“At Flemington we’re under time restraints with the track closing at 8.30, but at Ballarat we can ride them until 10.30 and it give us more time to get the job done,” McEvoy said. 

Meanwhile Group 1 warrior Hey Doc is beginning to have his work increased ahead of a return to racing in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 13. 

“He’s just going through the early stages of fast work,” McEvoy said. 

“He’s about 10 days away from having his first gallop. He’s in fantastic order, full of condition, as he always is. 

“We’ll kick him off in the Lightning and see where we go from there.”