Newmarket trainer Martyn Meade believes staying power can help Eminent win the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday and in the process provide Frankel with his first British Classic winner as a sire.
Sixty-nine-year-old Meade, will be having his first runner in the world’s greatest Flat race but currently only Cracksman, another son of Frankel, and Cliffs Of Moher, one of six runners in the race for Aidan O’Brien, are preferred to his challenger in the betting.
A final field of 19 was this morning revealed for the premier Classic - the biggest since a maximum 20 went to post in 2003. One of the great events of the sporting summer, carrying record prize money of £1,625,000, the Investec Derby forms part of the middle distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
“Just to have a runner in the Derby is fantastic,” Meade said. “To be part of it is a privilege and beyond my wildest dreams. It makes you tingle to think about it. All that background and history, all those wonderful winners over the years and how they’ve all gone on to make wonderful stallions. All the pageantry and support for it. There cannot be anything better.
“I look at the American races and the high-value contests around the world but they mean nothing like the Derby. I have to pinch myself because there’s no standout horse in race this year and the more you look at it, the more it looks like he has a good chance.”
Eminent won his only start as a two-year-old and landed the Craven Stakes in a rapid time on his reappearance at Newmarket in April before surrendering his unbeaten record when sixth behind Churchill in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
Meade has been delighted with his subsequent progress and the manner in which his colt worked with a stable companion over a mile at Epsom last week.
“There were a combination of factors against him in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas,” he said. “It was acutely disappointing but it was not the end of the world. I’m someone who looks forward rather than back. He’s bouncing again now and has got Derby written all over him for me. The distance is what he has been waiting for.”