Trainer Tony McEvoy. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Trainer Tony McEvoy. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Irked McEvoy forced to change Millions plan

TRAINER Tony McEvoy is adamant he will not travel to the Gold Coast to qualify Magic Millions runners unless Racing Queensland addresses field sizes and transport logistics.

Frustrated after King And King and Lopez failed to secure starts in the $125,000 QTIS Two-Year-Old (1000m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday, McEvoy said Racing Queensland needed to urgently reconsider its strategy.

"There were 16 acceptors for the race, so there could have been two fields of eight with each-way betting, but Racing Queensland in their wisdom decided to a field of 10 with six emergencies," McEvoy said.

"I have owners who have paid for horses to fly to Queensland and we can't get a start.

"I think Racing Queensland needs to look at the way Perth looks after owners and trainers with transport and quality racing.

"I'm not going back up there to Queensland to qualify my horses when this happens. If I can't qualify them down here, I'm not going."

Safety rules dictate only 10 horses can run from the 1000m start in two-year-old races at Eagle Farm.


Trainer Tony McEvoy is at loggerheads with Racing Queensland over race programming.
Trainer Tony McEvoy is at loggerheads with Racing Queensland over race programming.

Racing Queensland said it was not viable to split Saturday's race, even if it is a crucial qualifier for the Magic Millions Classic on January 11.

An RQ spokesman said the aim was to provide as many opportunities as possible for trainers to race in Queensland to qualify their horses for Magic Millions.

"From November 2 to January 4, RQ conducts 24 races for two-year-olds at a variety of tracks and distances in south east Queensland," the spokesman said.

"And only this year we created an additional opportunity for qualification through the introduction of the Golden Pearl for fillies, in support of the Golden Nugget for colts and geldings, run one week prior to Magic Millions day.

"With only 16 acceptances for the Plate at Eagle Farm this Saturday and with half with those also holding nominations for the Gold Coast meeting on the same day, it was not viable to divide the race."

McEvoy has encountered logistical barriers for the past three years.

"It is not as if this hasn't happened before," he said, referring to cancelled flights last week.

Lopez has also accepted at the Gold Coast but is an emergency there on Saturday.

McEvoy said the Lopez and King And King are now likely to head towards the $250,000 Group 3 B J McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on December 28.

McEvoy and his son Calvin will have a "good hand" at Flemington on Saturday when the partnership saddles Ruler By Choice, Celtic Rebel, Renegade and Secret Blaze.