Kerrin McEvoy will ride Maotai in The Archer.

Published 17 April 2023

Kerrin McEvoy will ride Maotai in The Archer.

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The idiom “if you build it, he (they) will come” originating from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, sits comfortably within the foundations of Rockhampton’s richest race the $775K The Archer.

It’s a truism that both “he and they are coming” to Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse next Sunday week, a direct consequence of the prize money spike hike for The Archer to $775,000.

And come they are.

Three times Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy, a winner of over 2000 races, including 333 in the United Kingdom, is definitely coming to ride Maotai in The Archer.

What a promoter’s dream but to think a race winning horse from Royal Ascot, where incidentally McEvoy has ridden 13 winners, may also be bound for The Archer beckons belief.  

Not in the wildest dreams would the Rocky Amateurs committee, the architects of The Archer have considered that an English aristocrat, a winner at Royal Ascot could make his Australian racing debut in the race.

It’s very much looking like actuality, albeit incredibly enthralling that Australian Bloodstock owned Inver Park (GB) may represent Rockhampton slot holders Ron and Jill Milne in The Archer.

For Inver Park (GB), the 1281km float trip from Kris Lees’ Newcastle (NSW) stables to Rockhampton will be a mere hop, skip and a jump compared to the 16,061km hike he made from London to Australia.

Then again Inver Park (GB) did fly, a trait he also displays at the finish of his races as illustrated at his last win on June 16, 2022 when he beat 28 rivals over seven furlongs (1400m) at Royal Ascot. 

That win in the Buckingham Palace Stakes down the Royal Ascot straight course was transfixing as Inver Park weaved his way through the massive field from the proverbial “mile back”.

Since winning there against “blue bloods” four starts ago, Inver Park (GB) had his first serious outing 183 days after last racing when opposing the Aussies, he accelerated to win a Newcastle barrier trial (1000m) on April 11.

Ridden by all conquering apprentice Dylan Gibbons, who won his first GR 1 race on Explosive Jack in the recent Sydney Cup, Inver Park (GB) was ridden assertively to be pushed to the finishing line and win.

Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett said today (Monday) – “it’s the intention he (Inver Park) would be on the truck this week heading to the Gold Coast (Kris Lees Queensland base)”.

“At this stage he is travelling up and will be our number one suit. The horse is very forward and has very strong form lines. He hits the line fast and we thought the 1300 metres first-up would be ideal”, Lovett said.

Kris Lees had two starters in last year’s The Archer in Ventura Ocean (7th) and Gem Song (5th) which also represented the Milne’s as slot holders.

Australian Bloodstock featured in the ownership of both horses and reading between the lines Lees may have dual starters again in the 2023 rendition of the burgeoning race. 

All the engaging bartering and toing and froing between registered owners of prospective starters for The Archer and its 12 slot holders will virtually cease in the next 48 hours.

That’s because official nominations for The Archer close on Wednesday at 1pm when dreams will phase one step closer to reality for the dozen slot holders in the goliath of a race.

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