By Ray Hickson
Trainer Joe Pride is convinced he has the right plan to see his star sprinter Eduardo run top three in the $15m TAB Everest in October and is even more certain after watching his first trial this campaign on Tuesday.
The eight-year-old, with Robbie Dolan in the saddle, clocked 47.31 as he scored in an 805m heat at Warwick Farm that included confirmed TAB Everest runner Gytrash who finished on from the back to run third.
Both horses are expected to clash in what is shaping as the major TAB Everest rehearsal in next month’s Group 2 $500,000 The Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick but Eduardo is still to secure a slot.
“It was what we wanted to see, we’re still a month out from the Shorts so we didn’t want to go out there and break any records,’’ Pride said on Sky Thoroughbred Central after the trial.
“We didn’t want to see him run a lightning quick time and have it flatten him in any way but he’s in terrific order.
“I’m sure he deserves his spot in the field, I have no doubt about that. But slots aren’t decided by the level you’ve hit in racing, other things come into play.
“If a slot holder wants a fast horse that’s going to run top three then Eduardo’s the horse.”
Pride is keen for Eduardo to set the record straight after he burned the candle in last year’s TAB Everest and weakened to finish 11th in the 12 horse field.
The gelding has won two Group 1s since last year’s race, the Galaxy and the Doomben 10,000, and Pride said he now knows the horse inside out and what is needed for him to produce a peak performance.
“It’s all about the preparation for him,’’ he said.
“I’ve spent the last 12 months really getting to know him and coming up with a formula, which I like to do with all my older Group horses, as to how to get them to peak.
“We learnt last preparation with him he’s better early in the preparation. That Galaxy run is where I need to have him.”
Nash Rawiller is expected to be Eduardo’s rider when he resumes in The Shorts but Pride said Robbie Dolan was rapt with how the horse felt in the first of what will likely be two trials.
“You throw your keys to the Ferrari to someone and they take it for a spin it wouldn’t be too often they’re disappointed,’’ he said.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way he looks in his coat and his mannerisms. I’m convinced he’s a better horse this time around, that’s funny to say about an eight-year-old out but when you consider his K’s on the clock he’s only had 21 starts.”
Eduardo is a $15 chance in TAB’s all-in Everest market, the same price as Gytrash who pleased co-trainer Gordon Richards with the way he stretched out under trackwork rider Josh Evans.
His main objective in the trial was for the horse to have a nice hitout without being overtaxed and that’s why Evans eased him back in the field and allowed him to work home.
“Josh did the right thing and eased him back in behind them,’’ Richards told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“Jason (Collett) told him if he leaves him exposed early he might charge up and over race a bit and not finish it off. He was eating up the ground albeit under a pretty good hold so I was rapt with how he found the line.”
Richards is changing the formula from last year with Gytrash, who has the Inglis slot, and he’ll resume in the Shorts instead of the Concorde Stakes (1000m), the race in which he knocked over Nature Strip 12 months ago.
He said a month between runs is ideal for the six-year-old and the Shorts will tell everyone a lot about where they stand with reigning champ Classique Legend and Lost And Running also expected to line up.
“I want to bypass the Concorde if possible and go straight to the Shorts which will be more of a rehearsal for the Everest,’’ he said.