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McEvoy Mitchell RacingLatest News Festivus outstays rivals

Festivus outstays rivals

Stayer Festivus had been working up to a win, but at Stawell on Sunday, April 9, he exploded to victory.

The Tony & Calvin McEvoy-trained four-year-old thrashed his rivals with an eight-length win of the Grampians Racing Benchmark 64 Handicap (2700m)

After settling second early, Festivus was taken to the front by jockey Declan Bates with 1400 metres to run.

He quickly established a two-length lead, increased it to four by the 800 metres, then kept staying on and put a margin on his rivals by the home turn.

Urged along, Festivus ($2.70 fav) was never challenged running away to score from Lucky Plutus ($26) with Permutation ($6) two lengths away third.

Stable foreman Tim Hanley said an upgrading of the track to a soft 7 had suited Festivus.

“We gained a fair bit of confidence watching the previous race and I said to Calvin we would be hard to beat,” Hanley said.

“We got a bit keen on the first lap and Dec (Bates) decided to take it up and made the right call.

“Festivus proved the best stayer on the flat today.

“It looked a perfect race for him running against a lot of jumpers heading towards Warrnambool.

“Festivus could be on a path to be a future jumper himself.”

Jockey Declan Bates had been confident of a bold showing.

“I was quite confident he would relish the trip,” Bates said.

“I was quite happy to be in a forward position early and I got going because I was keen to get the others chasing me.

“Sure enough, he was just too good in the end.

“When I got going, he really picked up well.

“I was a bit worried I went too soon but he sustained the run right to the line.

“It was a good win.”