McEvoy holds high hopes for Sandown winner

Craig Brennan
Xilong will be spelled with an autumn campaign in mind after winning the Twilight Glow Stakes

After breaking through for her maiden stakes race success, Xilong will have the bar raised even higher in her next preparation.

Xilong led throughout to win the Listed Twilight Glow Stakes (1400m) at Sandown on Saturday with trainer Tony McEvoy announcing the filly would be spelled immediately.

McEvoy, who trains in partnership with son Calvin, said the Group One Sangster Stakes at Morphettville in May appealed as a suitable target.

Sent out the $2.50 favourite under Luke Currie, Xilong led throughout before scoring a 1-1/4 length win from Palurien ($5.50) with Excelida ($31) a length away third.

"I've always thought of her as a Group-class filly and the Sangster Stakes, the Group One for fillies and mares in Adelaide in May, I think she's talented enough to run in that," McEvoy said.

"With a break now, I think she will come back even better, and although that is high, that's what I think of her."

McEvoy's mind was put at rest after Xilong ran a strong 1400m after burning the candle at both ends on Saturday.

At her last start, Xilong was run down when third at Flemington over the trip on Melbourne Cup day.

"She had a box seat run the other day but the gap probably came 50 metres too soon and Luke was obligated to take it," McEvoy said.

"She darted through but then got picked up on the line by two fillies that had had a run at 1400 metres, so maybe she just peaked and that certainly looked the case.

"But she did it at both ends today and was impressive."