Hong Kong still target for He’s Eminent

He’s Eminent will head to Hong Kong to contest the Gr.1 QEII Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin - Bradley Photography
He’s Eminent will head to Hong Kong to contest the Gr.1 QEII Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin

Bradley Photography

He’s Eminent is pressing on to Hong Kong despite a shock lack-lustre performance against the world champion Winx at Randwick on Saturday.

He’s Eminent beat just one of the nine runners home in the A$4 million Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), finishing 16 and a half lengths from Winx. But his connections, trainer Sir Mark Todd and owners Sir Peter Vela and Hubie de Burgh, have decided to take the gamble and continue on to the Gr.1 QEII Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin.

“He’s going to Hong Kong on Sunday and will run in the QE II Cup the following Sunday,’’ Todd said.

‘’He seems to have come through the race very well. Mind you he didn’t even have a race. He only lost one kilo.

‘’I’ve had him checked out and there’s nothing wrong so we’ve just got to put Saturday’s race behind us.”

He’s Eminent, a five-year-old son of the unbeaten champion Frankel, was expected to be one of the main runner-up contenders in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes after finishing a strong second in his debut for Todd in the Gr.1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.

He was expected to make the pace in Winx’s farewell, as he had done in the Ranvet Stakes before being run down by Avilius. But he ambled out of the stalls and failed to get to the front in spite of the urgings of rider James McDonald.

“He just wasn’t the same horse as he was at Rosehill,’’ McDonald said. ‘’He just didn’t seem to know where he was when he jumped out. I tried to get him going, but he wasn’t interested. He didn’t switch on at all.’’

Todd was devastated by the disappointing performance and all he can put the failure down to is the addition of ear muffs.

“He’d worked in them and been fine,’’ Todd said. ‘’I expected him to jump and put himself there in front. He likes to be near the front. But he just didn’t switch on. James said it wasn’t him.

‘’He did get a bit worked up in the back parade ring, but that’s normal for him.

‘’I spoke to others and there had been similar experiences with ear muffs for the first time, it even happened with Winx. When they tried them on her she missed the jump by six lengths.’’

He’s Eminent’s performance in Hong Kong will be the decider on whether or not he returns to England with Todd for further racing.

‘’If he goes well he’ll go back to Europe and we’ll probably look at the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Gr.1 2000m) at Royal Ascot,’’ Todd said. ‘’If he doesn’t fire in Hong Kong, that’ll be it.’’

While He’s Eminent will head to Hong Kong in the care of former New Zealand jockey Bruce Herd, Todd returns to England between times to sneak in some preparation to compete at the Badminton Horse Trials.

A dual Olympic gold medallist and world champion eventer, Todd has been riding He’s Eminent in some of his work, but he admits he is behind the eight-ball when it comes to readiness for Badminton.

‘’I’m heading home today (Monday) and will ride this week in a competition,’’ he said. ‘’Badminton is the following week after Hong Kong so it’s a busy time for me. I’ll be doing my best to be ready for Badminton, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t get there.’’

Todd’s mount for Badminton, which begins on May 1, is the 17-year-old NZB Campino, who is owned by Sir Peter Vela. Todd has won Badminton on four occasions and he combined with NZB Campino to finish fourth in 2017. - NZ Racing Desk


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