Racing: McEvoy finds love at first sight with Papineau

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The Independent Online

They were last night dancing in the Australian fishing village of Streaky Bay, six hours west of Adelaide, after a son who escaped the net registered the most significant winner of his short British-based career here yesterday.

They were last night dancing in the Australian fishing village of Streaky Bay, six hours west of Adelaide, after a son who escaped the net registered the most significant winner of his short British-based career here yesterday.

Kerrin McEvoy, who was anointed as Godolphin's second son only in March, made his first ride at the base of Trundle Hill a winning one when Papineau scorched clear in the opening conditions race.

Even bigger days await both horse and jockey. Papineau, who was formerly under the instruction of André Fabre at Chantilly, is virtually in the lot. The Coronation Cup, Hardwicke Stakes and Ascot Gold Cup are imminent considerations.

McEvoy is 23 but would have a hard job convincing the doorman. The Aussie has already ridden over 500 winners worldwide, most importantly the 2000 Melbourne Cup on Brew, when he became the second youngest jockey to capture the race that stops a nation.

McEvoy has ridden in Dubai and Hong Kong and, earlier this month, was second on Sundrop in the 1,000 Guineas. Nothing though could have prepared him for this slanting journey through the West Sussex countryside. "Goodwood is like no other course that I've seen anywhere in the world, but you could say that it was love at first sight," the jockey said.

Now McEvoy can look forward to another helter-skelter, at Epsom in just over two weeks' time, when he is likely to partner fancied mounts in both Classics. "Frankie [Dettori] will ride Snow Ridge [in the Derby] and we've also got Duke Of Venice, but Kerrin is likely to ride Rule Of Law," Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said yesterday.

McEvoy will be sent on a reconnaissance mission over the Surrey downs on the Wednesday before the Blue Riband. By then the composition of a race for which 25 went forward yesterday will be more fully known. The Derby, as is usual in the modern age, is dominated by the twin battalions, with Godolphin's trio surpassed only by a Ballydoyle quartet led by the ante-post favourite, Yeats.

Yesterday's Oaks trial, the Lupe Stakes, went to Halicardia, who holds the Classic engagement yet there appears a reluctance to send her on the voyage around Tattenham Corner.

John Dunlop's Spotlight struck for home three furlongs out but Darryll Holland, on the 7-2 favourite, started to eat into the advantage. Halicardia proved a somewhat recalcitrant partner, however. A swerve to the left appeared to signify it was curtains, but there was still light and a final thrust just secured a neck victory.

"While Halicardia was trying to please me early on she was a bit fresh," Holland said. "I wanted to drop her head, which probably confused the filly. It was only the fourth race of her life and she's not encountered coming down a hill on fast ground before. I got her relaxed and tried to get her organised. I knew I had enough in reserve to get there. It's just a feel that a jockey gets from underneath you. You just seem to know what you've got left. But you have to get them balanced before you can go."

The tale of the unexpected came in the fillies' maiden, in which Another Faux Pas won at 100-1. She pounced close home to overhaul stablemate All Quiet. Richard Hannon, who trains the pair, said he was "gobsmacked".

"I can't believe my eyes," Hannon added. "I gave only 11,000 euros for Another Faux Pas and have barely done any work with her this year. I don't ever remember being more surprised."

* Timmy Murphy hopes to be back riding within three weeks to take up his new job as retained jockey to the champion jumps owner, David Johnson. Murphy, currently sidelined with a cracked collarbone, has been signed up in the wake of Tony McCoy leaving his post as stable jockey to Johnson's principal trainer, Martin Pipe. Johnson has underlined that the arrangement is between Murphy and himself and does not take in the whole of Pipe's yard.

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