Andrew Eddy - Racing.com
If you didn't know better, you'd swear Sandown knew Wednesday was not your typical winter mid-week program.
The sun shone and the biting, cold wind that often makes life uncomfortable at those meetings was pleasingly absent.
That was fitting, because there was a greater degree of star factor, or potential star factor at least, than there is normally present at Victorian racing's metropolitan workhorse at this time of year.
Matt Cumani's Our Regal Warrior was coming off a jaw-dropping Geelong success, when he won by seven lengths despite jockey Dean Holland easing up from the furlong, while Alfa Oro spanked his rivals by six lengths on debut at Pakenham.
Neither replicated their maiden wins, but that's not to suggest the races they were in didn't produce horses capable of making an impression in better races during spring.
The Nicconi gelding shared the lead with Our Regal Warrior in the 1000-metre Ladbrokes Multiverse 3YO BM64 Handicap (1000m), had him beaten early in the straight and surged away for a one-length win that was just what his trainer wanted to see.
"A horse of his class, coming here on a Wednesday in July, he should be winning," McEvoy said of the gelding whose previous start was in the G2 Autumn Stakes (1400m).
"He got that job done and he'll take great benefit out of that. It'll be good for his head and I'm looking forward to the next couple of months.
"I've got to work out how far he'll run. I think he'll love a mile, he could get to a Toorak Handicap, one of those style of races. I think he's a Group horse, I really do."
Our Regal Warrior - the easy $3 favourite - staggered home in 12th position, 5.5 lengths from Illumicon, who started $9.50.