Epaulette ready to fire in All Aged
Mandy Cottell
19:06 AEST Thu Apr 25 2013

Two weeks after finishing second to Black Caviar in her racetrack swan song, Epaulette will have to face off with another member of the champion's family in Saturday's All Aged Stakes at Randwick.

Epaulette made late ground to finish three lengths astern of the great mare in the TJ Smith Stakes, his first run since the spring.

On Saturday, it will be Black Caviar's little brother All Too Hard standing in the way.

Already a triple Group One winner, All Too Hard has had an interrupted autumn due to illness but Team Hawkes is confident the valuable colt is right for the All Aged ahead of a possible trip to Royal Ascot.

Epaulette also had an early setback in his preparation which forced Darley head trainer Peter Snowden to rejig his plans and set the colt a late-autumn weight-for-age program.

The TJ Smith was his first time taking on the older horses and jockey Kerrin McEvoy was buoyed by his closing second to the indomitable Black Caviar.

"It was a top effort to run second to her," McEvoy said.

"The 1400 metres looks his ideal trip.

"It's a small field on Saturday but there should be a bit of tempo with Rain Affair there."

A field of eight will line up in the All Aged with glamour mare More Joyous and All Too Hard vying for early favouritism.

More Joyous ($2.40), who won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at the meeting a year ago, just shades All Too Hard ($2.60) in TAB fixed odds markets with Epaulette a $5 chance

McEvoy has no doubt Epaulette has returned a better horse than in the spring when he won the Golden Rose and finished third behind benchmark colts All Too Hard and Pierro in the Caulfield Guineas.

But he isn't sure whether that will be enough to turn the tables on All Too Hard on Saturday.

"He is probably just a rung below them, the early spring suggested that," McEvoy said.

"I've got no doubt he has come back a better horse but he doesn't have the brilliance of a horse like Pierro."

While All Too Hard is regally related, Epaulette also comes from a strong family.

His half brother Helmet won the Champagne Stakes at the corresponding meeting two years ago.

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