Not only would McEvoy become the latest jockey to win all of the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups, a Cox Plate and a Golden Slipper if Probabeel claimed Saturday’s running, but he’d become the first to win the grand slam plus an Everest.
“As I said to someone earlier, we can make it a top five if we add The Everest to it,” McEvoy quipped.
“It is the last thing so I’m striving hard to try and get that win. It’s obviously a hard race to win and I’ve had a few goes so it would be lovely to join the small group of jockeys that have won those four majors.”
The New Zealanders have boasted a great record over the past 99 runnings of the WS Cox Plate. Among the champions include Sunline and Bonecrusher, and most recently Ocean Park, however McEvoy believes Probabeel is capable of joining the list.
“They’ve got a good knack of doing it; I was watching the re-runs last night and they bob up so it’s probably time that another Kiwi won it,” McEvoy said.
“She’s got to have a chance, I think. She’s in good form, she’s in the best for she’s been in in her life and that Epsom win was a fantastic win.
“She’s meeting a solid field, you can make a case for the lot of them. We go to 2000 metres, which I think will suit her. I’d like the rain to stay away if that’s any chance, but she ran second in a group 1 on rain-affected ground so she’s not hopeless in it but I’d prefer on top of the ground ideally.”
The Sydney hoop has been stuck in quarantine in Ascot Vale this week after making the call to come to Melbourne after the Everest.
The rides on Probabeel in the Cox Plate and Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old Tiger Moth in the Melbourne Cup made that a fairly easy decision for McEvoy, despite him needing to leave his family at home.
On Tuesday, Patrick Payne – who is looking after Probabeel on behalf of Kiwi trainer Jamie Richards – took the four-year-old for a spin around the Valley for the first time and McEvoy said he liked what he saw.
“She looked to go around there well, she looked to handle the Valley well, which is a positive and Patty was happy with her,” he said.
“Hopefully she can perform the same way, handle the Valley and she’s a big chance. It’s vitally important; it’s a tricky track to get around and it’s important they’re on the right leg and know where they’re at and quicken around the bend, that’s the important thing.
“She’s got star qualities and if it turns into a grind she can enjoy that. It all depends on how the race is run and that it will determine how I ride her in it.”
McEvoy said it would be a thrill to join Damien Oliver, Neville Selwood, Roy Higgins, Mick Dittman, Jim Cassidy, Chris Munce and Pat Hyland as the only jockeys to have won racing’s grand slam, least of all in the centenary running of the Cox Plate.
“It would be a huge feather in my cap, I’d just be delighted,” he said.
“There’s only a small group of jockeys who have been able to do it, so it would be the cherry on what’s already been a fruitful spring for me.
“It’s great to be a part of the 100th running … it will be extra special to win the centenary running of the race.”
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.