McEvoy prepares to take on big guns

The Sydney jockeys' room is widely regarded as one of the most competitive and the intensity is set to go up a notch with the injection of two global stars for the Golden Rose meeting. 

Ryan Moore and Joao Moreira are both in town to partner a couple of the autumn's best colts, Golden Slipper winner Shinzo and dual Group 1 victor Militarize, who go head-to-head in the $1 million Golden Rose (1400m). 

Shinzo and Ryan Moore are teamed up again in the Golden Rose; picture

The duo each tasted big race success on their last visit, Moore snaring the Slipper and Moreira the ATC Sires' Produce and Champagne Stakes. 

Riding against them again on Saturday is a challenge jockeys' room heavyweight Kerrin Mcevoy is eager to take on and he admits their presence pushes him to push himself. 

"Definitely. You up the standards," McEvoy said. "It's like getting a big player to a premier league team. You want to show your wares against the best out there and Ryan and Joao are near the top of the tree. 

"It just shows our spring carnival is getting longer and stronger. These quality riders are flying down to team up in our big races here, it adds an extra element to the level of rider and I'm sure they're going to make their presence felt and be doing their best work to win a few of these races in the coming weeks." 

McEvoy partners the Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou-trained General Salute in the feature, the colt considered by many as one of the better outside chances despite a wide draw in barrier 12. 

The last part of his race has been his best in two lead-up runs and with a gear change and a distance rise to 1400m, McEvoy won't be surprised to see him feature. 

"He hasn't been beaten far and only needs to improve with the blinkers on," McEvoy said. 

"He has been racing like 1400 is going to suit him. It's obviously a great turn out in this race with some quality colts, you've got the Slipper winner, the Champagne winner, it's a great line up. 

"This horse, he's got the potential to improve a bit more and that's what we're hopeful of." 

McEvoy has won the Golden Rose twice on Denman (2009) and The Autumn Sun (2018), while Ryan captured the stallion-making race with Trapeze Artist six years ago. 

Ryan has taken confidence from the latter on two fronts - Trapeze Artist overcame an outside gate and was also wearing blinkers for the first time. 

General Salute is familiar with the gear in trackwork, but Ryan is banking on it providing an edge on race day. 

"He used to work in blinkers before he ever raced," Ryan said of General Salute. 

"We were going to put them on last start but we thought, 'no, we'll do a Trapeze Artist and put them on in the Golden Rose'." 

The Golden Rose was reduced to 12 runners on Thursday with the scratching of the Annabel Neasham-trained Libertad.