Imported galloper Steel Of Madrid might take on Winx in the Cox Plate later this month but not under his original name.
Racing Victoria confirmed on Wednesday night that due to a name clash, Steel Of Madrid will now be known as Calderon. He is expected to make his Australian debut as early as Saturday week in the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
The name change was required due to Steel Of Madrid already being used by a four-year-old maiden in the care of Mornington trainer Tony Noonan.
Trainer Tony McEvoy prepares the favourite for the main race on Caulfield Guineas Day, but a case can be mounted to suggest Calderon and not Royal Symphony will be his most intriguing runner on October 14.
The canny horseman has been a regular visitor at the Werribee International Horse Centre since the Irish entire arrived on Saturday afternoon and he is delighted with what he’s seen.
“I like him,” he said. “I saw him for the first time on Sunday morning, he’s a really good style of horse and I’m very pleased with him.
“He’s got great depth and strength about him and I like his attitude. He looks to be a nice horse.
“He travelled beautifully, really good. He had no issues at all and he’s arrived here and is starting to put his weight back on. He’s eating – I’ve had him on the ‘Aussie feed’ if you like in England, just getting him used to it and he’s accepted our water and he’s accepted Australia well.”
Calderon was given a light 1400-metre workout on the Werribee course proper on Wednesday, with McEvoy hinting he will give him a slightly more taxing hit-out on Thursday.
The five-year-old came to Australia a winner of three of 13 starts under Richard Hannon, including a win over fellow Werribee resident Folkswood in the G3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes (1811m) at Ascot in April.
The son of Lode de Vega is accustomed to the McEvoy routine as the trainer’s son, Calvin, spent two months with him before he left England.
“David and Jenny Simcock, along with my son Calvin, did a great job on him in England,” McEvoy said.
“I asked them to have him very fit to run a 2000-metre race when he got off the plane and he’s arrived exactly that; he’s very fit.
“So I’m just going to trust him. He’s been in work all year, this horse, so he won’t be doing much work leading into the Caulfield Stakes.”
Calderon is nominated for the $3 million Cox Plate (2040m) and the $4 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) but McEvoy said it could be 12 months before he is a major player in one of the majors.
“He’s a 2000-metre horse, that’s what he is,” McEvoy said. “He can run a mile-and-a-half, but the three races were the Caulfield Stakes, Cox Plate and Mackinnon (Stakes) that we thought we’d run him in.
“Unfortunately there’s a bit of a hurdle there with a mare called Winx, but they’re the races we bought him for and we’ll run him and we won’t be expecting too much this year.
“We’ll be learning about him, but I don’t think Winx will be around next year and this horse will be at his best next year.”
Meanwhile, McEvoy hinted that Royal Symphony might be sporting a new look when he lines up in the Caulfield Guineas.
McEvoy said Royal Symphony wore winkers in his work at Flemington on Wednesday morning as he attempts to teach the horse some race smarts.