Game Keeper

Game Keeper (Image: Racing Photos)

Keeper's open canvas

Tony and Calvin McEvoy are happy to keep their options open with Game Keeper.

So much so they don't even have a plan mapped out for his next run after Saturday's Group 3 Aurie's Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.

The son of Fastnet Rock holds a nomination for the Cox Plate and Calvin McEvoy said it was up to the horse to prove he was good enough to compete at that level.

"Obviously he is very progressive," McEvoy said.

"We saw enough of him as a two-year-old colt to run him in the Blue Diamond. He didn't put in at all in that and he got the ultimate gear change.

"It has taken him a bit of time to mature and he's out of a really good mare from New Zealand that was very effective over 2000m.

"He was four-from-four last preparation and is really on the way up. So, obviously, that (the Cox Plate) is a long way to go, but it's worth putting a nomination in, especially this year where it could be a very, very different (race).

"We haven't made any great plans after this race. We wanted to get him to the 1200-metre race, see how sharp he is and whether he needs to go to a mile or 1400m.

"It's an open canvas at the moment."McEvoy said he was confident Game Keeper was forward enough for the first-up sprint assignment, adding the horse was 'over the odds' at $20.

"He didn't really have a decent spell from his last run. We sort of kept him ticking over," he said.

"We sent him up to our farm here in South Australia on the River Murray. So he will have a really good residual fitness going into Saturday.

"We are excited to have Damian Lane engaged and I think he will run a really good race. I think he's over the odds."

McEvoy said Lane would be instructed to let the horse find his feet from barrier five.

"Even though he is quite fresh going into it, he is a pretty relaxed customer. He should be able to relax, hopefully find a bum and something to take him into the race and hopefully be running on strongly late," he said.