Meade optmistic for Eminent
Trainer Martyn Meade has delivered a confident update on his QIPCO 2000 Guineas hope Eminent.
The son of Frankel was last seen breaking the course record when winning the Craven Stakes on the Rowley Mile and ahead of his task this Saturday, Meade declared himself very happy.
"He's come out of the race very well, so I couldn't be more pleased with him at the moment," Meade said. "I didn't have him absolutely primed [for the Craven], but he was obviously in the right condition to run, hence the way he did run, which was very pleasing."
Eminent put that contest to bed late on as he pulled clear of his rivals in the final furlong and Meade is keen to step his colt up in trip after the first Classic of the season.
"The mile is the absolute minimum distance he wants and I'd like to be able to step him up from that as soon as possible, but at the moment he's going to take his chance again over a mile."
The confirmation that Stobart Champion Jockey Jim Crowley would be available to ride Eminent was described as a 'huge plus' by his trainer, with Crowley having partnered him on both of his victories so far.
Churchill has been the long time antepost favourite for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and, along with Eminent, will be one of four unbeaten horses in the race, but the similarities between the two could see them going head-to-head late on in the race.
"It's a tough ask to beat Churchill. There are lots of other horses, but Churchill is obviously one that I am concerned about. He has won on the track before when winning the Dewhurst, but we haven't seen him out this time.
"It's difficult to form any more opinion than the bare form at the moment. He's similar to our horse in so far as that he'll most likely get further and he'll need a bit of pace in the race. One obviously has to be concerned, he's a very good horse."
Whilst the progeny of his sire continue to shine, Eminent, along with Godolphin's Dream Castle, will be Frankel's first runners in a Classic race and Meade can see a lot of similarities between his colt and the 2011 Guineas winner.
"He seems to me to be very similar. I had nothing to do with Frankel but a couple of the lads here in the yard, particularly Glenn [Osborn, Eminent's lad], were involved with Frankel when he was up at Warren Place and they feel he has lots of similar characteristics. I think of all the Frankels I've seen, he does actually look like him and has similar markings. Characteristic wise, he just wants to be a winner, so I suppose that's got to be important."
Victory in the race would represent a whirlwind journey for both Eminent and Meade, with the horse first seen on a track late last year now a much stronger beast both physically and mentally.
"He's matured a lot. We were very lucky to get a run into him last year. He's a big, big horse that needed time to mature and we had to wait until September or October before we could give him a run. He managed to do very well then and then we turned him away for a few weeks, brought him back and he has strengthened up, not only physically, but mentally too. He's going exactly the right way."
Should Eminent prove his class on Saturday, even bigger targets could be on the horizon, but for now Meade has his eyes firmly on the impending task as he seeks his first ever Classic winner.
"It hardly bears thinking about to be honest, the fact that we have got a runner is so exciting and I don't really dwell on after the race. I can't imagine what it would be like, so it's better to put it to one side and concentrate on getting the horse there in one piece and putting on a good show."
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