Scholar top of the class
Promising three-year-old filly Grand Scholar came through another exam with a brilliant all-the-way win at Moonee Valley on Friday, November 22.
Trained by Tony & Calvin McEvoy, Grand Scholar stepped up from her maiden win at Cranbourne earlier in the month to score a 1-3/4 win in the Ranvet Class One Handicap (1200m).
A well backed $2.40 favourite and ridden by Mark Zahra, the filly defeated Rolls ($3.30) with The Executioner ($5.50), 3-1/2 lengths away third.
Grand Scholar began quickly and although the runner-up tried to find the lead, Zahra was able to hold the inside comfortably and dashed his filly away up the home straight.
The winner recorded a slick 1:09.68 and looks ready to take further tests picked out by connections.
Trainer Calvin McEvoy said Grand Scholar had an exciting future.
“Last year we had this filly up with our best,” McEvoy said.
“We took her to Queensland but unfortunately it didn’t go right up there.
“She went a bit sore, but she did run very close to Missile Mantra which could have nearly won the Thousand Guineas.
“This time, she has come back in great order.
“Her maiden win on a heavy track (at Cranbourne) was just phenomenal and she has backed it up here doing it from both ends.”
Winning jockey Mark Zahra said the plan had always been to try and hold the front.
“Once I jumped, I knew Linda (Meech, rider of Rolls) was the only one which could lead me and drawing inside I was able to hold her out,” Zahra said.
“She can back under me, and the rail has been hot tonight, once we gave a kick it was all over.
“If you looked at her from last prep you wouldn’t know it is the same horse.
“She has doubled in size and the McEvoys have done a great job with her.”
Grand Scholar is owned by Sun Bloodstock Pty Ltd which paid $120,000 for her at the 2018 Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
Zahra said he had a great link with the owners.
“I have a really good association with Sun Stud and had good success with them.
“They put a lot of faith in me and I’m happy to repay it.”