Dwayne Dunn rides Royal Symphony to victory at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
Tony McEvoy knew before Saturday’s Taj Rossi Series Final that Royal Symphony was an above-average horse.
But he was left wondering exactly how far above average after the $120,000 event where the boom colt lived up to his billing as the star attraction at Flemington’s Finals Day program.
Royal Symphony overcame a tardy start to stroll home by 4.25 lengths in the 1600-metre Listed event.
It made it three wins from as many starts, following a 1200m maiden win at Pakenham on May 25 and 3.75-length romp over 1400m at Flemington on June 24.
“He probably is after that,” McEvoy said when asked if he was better than he thought.
“I don’t know how good those horses are behind him – not being disrespectful, but the second horse is a maiden – but when you carry that sort of weight (60kg) and can do that, it shows you’re a good horse.”
And good horses belong in Melbourne during spring, which is precisely where McEvoy will now direct the son of Domesday.
The canny horseman had contemplated giving Royal Symphony a light spring before a full-on assault on the autumn, but will give him his shot at the $2 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 14.
“He looked like a horse of real substance today, that’s what we’ve always thought of him and, now that we’ve seen it twice I’m really comfortable putting him away and thinking the spring is the right thing to do,” he said.
“I’ve got such a variety of things I can do with him at home at Kildalton Park (in Angaston), so we’ll just keep him interested and happy.
“We’ll back right off, keep him trot and cantering and have an English preparation. This Guineas is such a high-pressure, high-powered mile, I think third-up there will give him his best chance.”
Royal Symphony further impressed his jockey Dwayne Dunn, whose wife Amanda is one of the part-owners in the colt, who has already been the subject of substantial offers from both Australia and abroad.
The Taj Rossi Final did not pan out how Dunn hoped early, missing the start and having to borrow through along the rail rounding the home turn, but that didn’t stop him from displaying his brilliant turn of foot.
The $1.50 favourite scored from the Darren Weir-trained Anchor Bid ($14), with $5 second elect Evil Cry three-quarters-of-a length away third.
Royal Symphony covered the 1600m in 1:35.58 and had the fastest 200m splits from the 1400m home, including individual 200m splits off 11.25secs, 11.34 and 11.78 from the 600m home.
Dunn, who owns Caulfield Guineas wins aboard All Too Hard and Divine Prophet, said he deserved his shot at that race.
“You probably don’t know until a lead-up race if he’ll be up to them and he’s got to get back to Caulfield, a different track again, but the tempo should be hot and give him his chance to finish off the same way.”
Royal Symphony’s win was the first leg of a winning double for McEvoy, who later teamed with Luke Currie to get Super Haze home in the $120,000 Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m).
Well backed from $11 to start at $8, the import was a strong 1.25-length winner over Granddukeoftuscany ($6) with Charlevoix, the easy $4.20 favourite, 2.25 lengths back third.