Eminent primed to record Group 1 win
Martyn Meade believes the combination of two major factors could potentially provide Eminent with his best chance yet of capturing Group 1 glory.
The three-year-old — trained by Meade at his Sefton Lodge base on Bury Road — performed with credit when finishing sixth and fourth respectively at this year’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas and Investec Derby.
However, as the son of Frankel prepares for a third crack at victory in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (15.35) at Sandown Park on Saturday, Meade feels both the track and distance will work in his horse’s favour.
“He has done his last bit of work and everything has gone to plan,” said Meade.
“He is in very good shape and has progressed with each race.
“Sandown is a big, galloping track and that will suit him down to the ground.
“He has the speed over a mile — he showed that when winning The Craven (at Newmarket in April).
“It did not work out in the Derby. It was a race that was not run for him and I wish we could re-run it.
“Even so, that should mean one-mile-two is perfect for him.
“Other quick horses over a mile might end up struggling going the full distance, but we have no concerns on that front.”
There will be a new jockey in Eminent’s saddle down in Surrey, with connections opting to replace Jim Crowley with Silvestre de Sousa.
Reigning champion jockey Crowley has partnered the colt in each of his four starts, the most recent of which came at Epsom.
But with Crowley committed to riding for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, the responsibility has been passed to Brazil-born De Sousa.
“There was some uncertainty as to whether or not Jim would be available for us and we wanted to be sure,” added Meade.
“After a discussion with the owner we have decided to make the switch.
“Hopefully Silvestre will get the chance to sit on him at some stage.
“All the work has been done, but it would be good for Silvestre to have a sit on him.”
De Sousa currently leads the way in the Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Championship, with a victory margin of 23 over second-placed Ryan Moore.
n Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni teamed up to win the Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday with Nezwaah.Twenty-four hours earlier in Newcastle, James Fanshawe saw Higher Power stride to victory in the Northumberland Plate.