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Dual Group 1 winner Hey Doc pleased trainer Tony McEvoy with his early morning gallop in preparation for the Group 1 $1m Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.

Hey Doc, above with orange cap, is in fine shape heading into the 2019 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in Perth. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Hey Doc, above with orange cap, is in fine shape heading into the 2019 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in Perth. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Hey Doc has had one run back from a lengthy break due to injury but McEvoy couldn’t fault his action when he went through his paces at Ascot this morning.

“I was pleased with the horse. The main thing was that he used his action really well. He looked really smooth and fluent in his action which is very important,” Tony McEvoy told The Races WA.

“He was a little bit casual and a little bit lost out there on his own but Camille, who rode him for me, she brought him over here and she knows him backwards, and she said he felt great to her and he has pulled up beautifully. So happy.”

Hey Doc had to have surgery to remove a bone chip from his near fore joint after running eighth in the Group 2 $200,000 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington during the 2018 Melbourne Spring Carnival which resulted in him spending over twelve months on the sidelines.

McEvoy and his co-trainer and son Calvin were happy with Hey Doc’s first up run that saw him go down narrowly when third behind Teleplay and Home Of The Brave in the Group 3 $160,000 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on November 16.

“It was almost fourteen months off and Luke (Currie) said at the 100m he was empty but showed great courage and class like he has got, to go down by a neck,” Tony McEvoy said.

“I was concerned that a really hard run that he was going to come out of it okay, but he hasn’t left an oat, he is so bright and well so we thought we would put him on the plane and come across.”

“He is absolutely sound as a bell. His joints are amazing. He’s as sound as he has ever been but he needs to trim up a little bit more.”

The barrier draw will he held on Tuesday afternoon and McEvoy will be delighted if Hey Doc could draw an inside gate in the fifteen horse Winterbottom Stakes field.

“Barriers in is good for me and if he could draw one to five he will have every chance,” Tony McEvoy said.

Hey Doc is on the fourth line of betting at $8 with Ladbrokes.com.au behind Stradbroke Handicap winner Trekking at $3 and the two local sprinters Flirtini at $5.50 and Vital Silver at $6.50.

Regular rider Luke Currie will have the mount again on Hey Doc in the Winterbottom Stakes.

Betting for the 2019 Winterbottom Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3 Trekking, $5.50 Flirtini, $6.50 Vital Silver, $8 Hey Doc, $10 Valour Road, $12 Stageman, $14 Dubious, $15 Endless Drama, Home Of The Brave, Viridine, $19 Malaguerra, $26 Misty Metal, Rock Magic, $31 Spirit Of Valor, $81 Durendal.

The post Hey Doc strides into contention for the 2019 Winterbottom Stakes appeared first on HorseRacing.com.au.