Hey Doc’s first-up win in the Aurie’s Star Handicap has reinforced jockey Luke Currie’s belief the gelding is in for a big spring.
“I thought that even before Saturday,” Currie said.
“He seems to have come back really well. Obviously they need to take the next step from their three-year-old year to being out in open company, but he’s a big strong horse and he’s pretty exciting.”
Currie steered the Tony McEvoy-trained Hey Doc to a narrow but impressive win under 59kg in Saturday’s Group Three 1200m race at Flemington, his fifth win on the gelding which includes the Group One Australian Guineas and three Group races.
Hey Doc signalled he was on target for his first weight-for-age test in the Group One $1 million Memsie Stakes (1400m) in three weeks at Caulfield.
And Currie has gained confidence from the gelding’s first-up win.
“His peak run last preparation, I thought, was second-up in the C S Hayes Stakes over seven furlongs. So if he can reproduce that he’s going to be awfully hard to beat in the Memsie,” Currie said.
Currie said it was exciting to be associated with a horse like Hey Doc.
“I’ve ridden a few headline horses but never really stayed on them,” Currie said.
“So it is nice to have that support from Tony.”
Currie won the 2002 Werribee Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Makybe Diva, and also rode a three-year-old Mummify to a stakes win.
His three Group One wins have been the 2003 Toorak Handicap on Roman Arch, 2016 C F Orr Stakes on Suavito and Hey Doc’s 2017 Australian Guineas.
Currie is looking forward to the spring carnival.
“Tony’s horses are obviously flying at the moment and I’m lucky enough to be riding most of those,” he said.
“And I’ve really worked on my weight and fitness this year.
“I’m riding 54 kilos now and I’ll be able to ride even lighter through the middle of spring.”