Life as a successful international jockey in one of the world's greatest racing stables started for Kerrin McEvoy with a lucky break on an average horse in a Caulfield Cup.
A similar set of circumstances confronts McEvoy this week as he attempts to re-establish himself in Australia as a successful domestic rider.
McEvoy rides the English stayer All The Good in Saturday's Caulfield Cup, and today he was at the Sandown quarantine station getting to know his mount.
At the same time six years ago, McEvoy had been familiarising himself with the Godolphin stable's Beekeeper.
The pair ran encouragingly in the Caulfield showpiece and then finished third in the Melbourne Cup behind Media Puzzle.
McEvoy's style and skill impressed owner Sheikh Mohammed who signed him up to ride for his Dubai-based Godolphin stable.
Over the next five years, McEvoy rode hundreds of winners for Godolphin and other major stables in England and Europe, claiming a place among the top echelon of English riders.
Earlier this year, McEvoy returned to Australia to ride for the Darley racing stable after Sheikh Mohammed purchased Bob Ingham's Woodlands empire in the biggest deal in world thoroughbred racing.
At Caulfield on Saturday he will be trying to ride his first Group One winner since he came home.
McEvoy acknowledged that All The Good would need to be at his absolute peak to have a chance in the Caulfield Cup.
But if he did, he would be a "lively" chance in a race he is using as a stepping stone to the Melbourne Cup.
After riding the horse at Sandown today, McEvoy was as buoyant about All The Good's prospects as a jockey could be about a 50-1 chance.
"There's no doubt he's going to have to bring his best," McEvoy said.
"We need a lot to go right."
All The Good has had three runs for Godolphin, the latest a resounding win in the Newburgh Hcp (2800m) at Newbury.
He won the race that is usually run at York as the Ebor, by 3-1/2 lengths.
"That was a step up on his previous form," McEvoy said.
"But his Ebor run was fantastic ... it's a good race for horses coming to Australia and he was very impressive."
As was All The Good's work at Sandown today.
The five-year-old moved off from the 1500m behind lead horse Book Of Music.
After giving him four lengths start entering the straight, All The Good worked strongly to the front and was under a hold at the finish of the work.
"I wasn't asking him too many questions," McEvoy said.
"It was a nice blowout for Saturday's race. It was good work."
McEvoy believes All The Good will be better suited at Flemington, but he also regards him as a horse who can figure on Saturday at lucrative odds.
"If things go right you never know, he's got to be a lively outsider," he said.
"There hasn't been much said about him, so there'll be no pressure."
All The Good seems certain to be joined in the Caulfield Cup by fellow international Mad Rush who today had a strong canter in what was expected to be his final piece of serious work before the race.
He had his major gallop last week with race rider Damien Oliver up.
By Mike Hedge
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