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Racehorse trained by Sir Mark Todd set for Ranvet Stakes

Eminent before the 2018 Prince of Wales's Stakes (Image: Carl Di Iorio)

Eminent before the 2018 Prince of Wales's Stakes.

© Carl Di Iorio

 

By Carl Di Iorio

The horsemanship of Sir Mark Todd is being put to the test with He's Eminent.

The son of Frankel returns from retirement to contest Saturday's $700,000 Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill as Todd ends a decade-long hiatus from training to prepare the five-year-old entire.

"It all came as a bit of a surprise really," Todd told RSN927 on Thursday morning.

Todd is considered New Zealand's greatest Olympic eventer having represented his nation at the summer games on seven occasions, including winning gold twice.

He's no novice when it comes to training racehorses either as he oversaw the campaigns of Group 1 winners Bramble Rose (2003 New Zealand Oaks) and Willy Smith (2007 Wellington Cup).

He's Eminent, purchased for 125,000 guineas (A$255,000) as a yearling, was trained by Martyn Meade in the East Midlands of England as 'Eminent'.

 

Sir Mark Todd and McLaren for New Zealand - © Michelle Terlato

Sir Mark Todd and McLaren for New Zealand at WEG last year.

© Michelle Terlato

 

His three-year-old season saw him win two three-year-old Group races and finish fourth in the G1 Epsom Derby (2419m) in June 2017.

It was in one of those Group wins, the G2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano (2000m) at Deauville in August 2017, where he defeated Avilius in their only encounter.

The colt, owned by New Zealander Sir Peter Vela, then posted a career-best effort when finishing a close third behind Decorated Knight and Poet's Word in the G1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Expectations were high for Eminent ahead of his four-year-old season in 2018 but he finished last of five at odds-on for his reappearance in the G2 Huxley Stakes (2075m) at Chester in May. He was subsequently found to have a fibrillating heart and failed to recapture his best form, unplaced in his following three Group starts.

"The owners of the horse, Sir Peter Vela and Hubie de Burgh, bought out the whole horse towards the end of last year with the idea of retiring him to stud in New Zealand," Todd said.

"Then he came to me just to play around a bit just before he went back there but they decided that they'd have one last crack at a Group 1 race and then they asked me if I'd like to do it.

"I'm never one to shirk a challenge so I thought 'That would be good', so here we are."

He's Eminent was a $26 chance to win the Ranvet when nominations were released but his price was quickly slashed to single figures.

BetEasy have He's Eminent rated as $7.50 equal second favourite along with Unforgotten and Danzdanzdance while Avilius holding favouritism in the Ranvet Stakes at $3.30.

"Because of coming over here and we had snow, flu and everything else, we haven't had the chance to give him a run beforehand so we're going into this race a little in the dark. But as I said, I think the horse is fit and he's very well," Todd said.

"James McDonald, who is going to ride him, has done a few pieces of work on him and is happy with him so we're hoping we've got him somewhere near his best three-year-old form. And if he is like that he could be competitive on Saturday."

This article first appeared on Racing.com and is reprinted here with their kind permission. To find out more about Racing Victoria's Off the Track program, visit rv.racing.com/the-horse/off-the-track.

 

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