French import Kourkam will be out to equal a 26-year piece of history when the gelding lines up in tomorrow’s $140,000 Jam Media Wagga Gold Cup (2000m).
The Tony McEvoy-trained five-year-old is attempting to win the Albury-Wagga Cup double.
The last horse to achieve the feat was the Lee Freedman-trained Abstraction in 1989 when a bonus was attached for winning both country feature staying events.
Kourkam hasn’t raced for 35 days since sustaining a strong run around the field to beat Verdant and Self Sense in the $170,000 Albury Cup (2000m) on March 27.
The break between runs hasn’t fazed McEvoy.
McEvoy had Kourkam down to run in the JRA Plate at Randwick on April 18 but a bruised heel forced the trainer to scratch the lightly raced son of British stallion American Post.
“He bruised his heel slightly,” McEvoy confirmed. “It wasn’t bad but I just didn’t want to risk him.
“Everything’s fine now. The time between runs isn’t an issue. He’s a European bred staying horse. He’s only light fleshed and weighs around 470 kilos.
“He doesn’t take a lot of training to keep him fit. I’ve just kept him ticking over.
“He’s trained on beautifully since the Albury Cup. He’s telling me he’s bright and well.
“He’s only a little fella but he’s got a big motor and big heart.”
McEvoy revealed he got race jockey Kerrin McEvoy to make a special trip to Hawkesbury on Tuesday to partner Kourkam in his final piece of lead up work before the Wagga Cup.
“Kerrin got off and said he felt very sharp,” McEvoy said. “He was pleased with his action and he pulled up well after the work.
“We’re going into the race, a race I’d love to win, with a fit racehorse and high class jockey.”
Kourkam’s Albury third up win was his first this preparation over the 2000m. McEvoy believes that will stand him in good stead for Wagga.
“I think he’s a bit better now than before Albury,” McEvoy enthused. “Having the run over 2000 metres makes a difference. He’s sharper now.”
Kourkam rises 3.5kg in weight to 57.5kg from Albury and has drawn barrier 15.
“The weight won’t worry him but it’s certainly an awkward barrier,” McEvoy admitted. “We’ll have to have a look at the tempo of the race and make some decisions.
“While he got back at Albury he is a horse that can be effective racing closer. We were actually going to go forward early at Albury but his missed the start and Kerrin went to plan B.”
McEvoy added Kourkam would target the $300,000 Brisbane Cup (2200m) next.
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