Mick Kent points to Epingle’s record at 2400 metres when he talks quietly but confidently about Saturday’s Chairman’s Handicap and then the Sydney Cup the following weekend.
The Pins six-year-old mare is hitting her straps after being shown some patience by owner Rick Jamieson, Black Caviar’s breeder, and Kent.
“We have never pressed her but once she has got to this sort of trip she had been very good,” Kent said. “The plan has been to get here and we have a nice staying mare.
“We will get through Saturday then worry about the Cup, but she doesn’t have a nice weight there.”
Epingle was runner-up in Sertorius’ Zipping Classic in the spring at her first crack at 2400m. She then went to Tasmania in the summer, where she won the Hobart Cup and Launceston Cup at the same trip.
The mare has been in work since the spring but the plan was to come to Sydney while she held her form.
Epingle confirmed she was on track for the Sydney Cup by working to the line strongly to run third in a group 3 for mares over 1900m at Rosehill a fortnight ago.
“We have all always known that she would stay and it was opportunity [in Tasmania] to give her a try at it and she confirmed what we thought,” Kent said.
“I was very happy with her first run here and she is ready to stretch out over more ground now.
“She is going to have to be at her best because I though Sertorius was outstanding last week [when fourth in The BMW] and she meets him similar at weights as in the spring.”
Kent has sent Marianne to the spelling paddock after she failed in the Vinery Stud Stakes last week but brings Miss Steele to Sydney for the P.J. Bell Stakes, in which he also has a runner as the owner of the Craig Carmody-trained Everage.
“Miss Steele has won three at home and I thought it was worth giving a shot at some black type,” Kent said. “But this is a very hard race and she has drawn poorly.”
Miss Steele is a $15 chance in early betting and Kent was leaning towards Everage as the better hope in the race, even though she has not been sighted in her three runs this time in. She is quoted at $26.
“She is a winner over this track and distance at the same time last year and is going to get a track surface that will suit her,” Kent said.
“I would think [Everage] is probably the better of the two if she can find her form and Craig is happy with her.”