Kerrin McEvoy: Nice to be Back

The last time Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy had been to Dubai was in 2008 and while he had obviously followed the Dubai World Cup Carnival at home, standing below the massive Meydan stand, he admitted: “It’s different when you see it up close, it’s very impressive.”

McEvoy first discovered Dubai in 2002 after he won a trip to Dubai in a racing competition. Not content to just go for a well-deserved holiday, he contacted Godolphin to see if he could ride out for them.

The answer was yes, of course.

Following that first stint in Dubai, he returned to Australia where he won his first championship in 2003. But he was hooked on Dubai and returned the following winter. It turned out to be a wise decision, as Godolphin subsequently signed him up as their number 2 in the UK.

His association with Godolphin has been very successful, not only in the UK, but also in his native Australia where he returned in 2008 when he was appointed number one jockey for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s Darley stable.

When it was announced that Helmet, the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas winner, as well as multiple Group 1 winner Sepoy, were going to run on Dubai World Cup night, he was hoping to keep the rides, even though they would be running in the Godolphin blue silks.

In February it was confirmed that he would indeed keep them.

“Obviously I’m delighted and also massively excited,” confirmed McEvoy.

He will partner Sepoy in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News over 1,200m on the all-weather and Helmet in the Group 2 UAE Derby, sponsored by The Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group over 1,900m on the all-weather. Both horses are trained by Peter Snowden.

On Tuesday morning, after setting foot on the track for the first time, he said: “It’s good to be back and see the changes that were made over the last few years.”

He looked around him and added: “The grass track is huge, isn’t it?”

Both of his Dubai World Cup night horses seemed in fine form and he confirmed: “Yes, they have travelled over well and I am really pleased with them. Their work this morning was quite sharp and they ran some nice times. I reckon out of the two Helmet will probably appreciate the surface a little bit more than Sepoy. ”

For most Australians, Caulfield Guineas winner Helmet has a cracking chance in the UAE Derby where he needs to beat Aidan O’Brien’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Wrote.

“He is a little bit quirky in the sense that if he gets cut up he sometimes doesn’t travel,” McEvoy said referring to Helmet. “But if he gets into a nice rhythm and a spot that he enjoys, he can perform up to a high standard.”

There is no doubt that both horses will be very much in the spotlight on Saturday, but the 2000 Melbourne Cup winning jockey is not worried about pressure.

“Sure,” he concludes. “It is special to ride here in Dubai for Godolphin. The atmosphere is bound to be great, but that is what you want as a jockey. These are the days you look forward to.”