Multiple Group 1 winner Hey Doc remains a strong chance of returning to Perth to defend his Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) crown at Ascot after a sizzling performance at Moonee Valley on Friday.

The star gelding for Tony and Calvin McEvoy showed he still displayed plenty of zest in his seven-year-old legs after claiming his fourth Group 1 victory and second Manikato Stakes (1200m) in track record time.

Repeating his Manikato Stakes success from 2017, Hey Doc, under Luke Currie, pulled out plenty in the run to the line and staved off the strong challenge from runner-up Trekking with Dirty Work filling third placing.

Hey Doc won last year’s Winterbottom Stakes easily, leading from start to finish at his second start from a long injury layoff and will look to join Hardrada (2002-2003) as previous successive winners of Perth’s premier sprint.

Calvin McEvoy said Hey Doc will have his next race at Flemington, but a return trip to Perth was a major consideration.

“It’s a big chance and it’s something we want to do,” said McEvoy on Tabradio.

“The two target races for him were the Manikato and all going well going back to Perth.

“We just have to work out how it can happen and how we can do it.

“Whether we send a staff member from South Australia I’m not sure.

“We are really keen to get him back over there.

“He’s in the VRC Sprint (1200m), the Darley Sprint, he will go there for his next run.

“Obviously if his form holds up and he continues to go as good as he is right now, then I would love to send him over to defend his title.”

The VRC Sprint is run at Flemington on November 7.

The Winterbottom Stakes is at Ascot three weeks later.

Julio Santarelli