Connections and supporters thought they had little chance of saying cheese for the cameras when rising star and hot favourite Mac ‘N’ Cheese missed the start badly in the 1400m Listed Oaklands Plate for two-year-olds at Morphettville Parks on Sunday.
But the guile and calmness of leading jockey Barend Vorster helped turn around the fortunes of the Tony and Calvin McEvoy trained runner to win the $107,250 feature, reeling in the field from last after travelling five wide nearing the turn.
The victory was the daughter of Sebring-Bonnie Mac’s first after finishing second at Bendigo in May and Sandown in June at her only two previous starts.
A relieved Tony McEvoy said there was a lot of stress watching the race unfold.
“It was a hard watch, I felt very flat after the start because we have done so much work on this filly, my team and I,’’ McEvoy said
“She has been jumping well at home and jumped nicely in a trial. It was gut-wrenching to see her fall out the gates out the back in a Stakes race, then she had all the work to do.
“But the race just showed Barend’s experience. The leader was getting a cosy run and Barend decided to take the race by the scruff of the neck. I am so pleased he did. She chased hard and ran that leader down well.
“There is not much to come for her now so we will have a look in the spring.’’
The @mcevoymitchell-trained Mac ‘n’ Cheese takes out the Listed Oaklands Plate 🥇 pic.twitter.com/vRe6qT4nRA
The origins of the name Mac ‘N’ Cheese had a few people in the media room scratching their heads as to what it meant – including McEvoy.
“I spoke to the owners (just now), Spendthrift Australia and the SA manager Garry Cuddy said the group was naming horses after food their children liked – so Mac ‘N’ Cheese (macaroni and cheese) was the name they came up for this one,’’ McEvoy said.
“Hopefully more to come.’’
McEvoy said it was good to see a horse go from a maiden to a Listed victory – the McEvoy filly Oohood surpassing that with a Group 1 victory in the Flight Stakes at Randwick in September 2018 after going in as a maiden.
Todd Pannell took the riding honours for the day with a treble (Dominus, Nudge Bar and Great Diviner) to draw level with Jess Eaton for the metro jockeys’ premiership, while Kayla Crowther rode a double (Lombardo and Going Gaga).
With two meetings left, the SA Metro Jockey Premiership is all tied up 👀 pic.twitter.com/5Q2lfn4DaS
Star Hills turned his recent run of outs into a winning day when he held on to win Benchmark 82 over 1000m.
Starting at $19, the Bob Richard-trained gelding kicked clear in the run home to hold out Brimarvi Vehero and Aadelad with jockey Jason Holder showing his strength to get the winner home.
Star Hills, which was believed to have had breathing problems, dominated last year with five consecutive wins from May to November.
■ Local racing is set for an influx of experience with the relocation of leading South African training partnership Gary and Dean Alexander to South Australia.
The brothers, with more than 1500 winners and multiple Group 1s behind them over a 30-year career, decided to take up base at the world-class centre of excellence development at Murray Bridge for a new challenge.
The pair will set up at Morphettville and then relocate to Murray Bridge, possibly early next year, when their facilities at the Bridge are finished.
Originally published asMac ‘N’ Cheese serves up maiden victory
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