By Ray Hickson
English galloper Eminent has handled the trip to Sydney in his stride as he settles in for two weeks quarantine at Canterbury.
The five-year-old is the first of at least four international visitors for the Autumn Carnival and The Championships.
Trained by seven-time Olympian and dual gold medal winning Eventing star Sir Mark Todd, Eminent is in the care of former New Zealand jockey Bruce Herd while the trainer is expected to arrive later this week.
"He only lost about 8kg on the trip, he's eating well and drinking well,'' Herd said.
"It didn't seem to affect him at all.''
Eminent cantered a lap and a half of Canterbury on Tuesday morning under Herd having only arrived late on Saturday night and won't be doing any serious work until at least the weekend.
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) March 4, 2019
Herd said the entire, who is owned by Sir Peter Vela and is expected to continue to New Zealand and take up stud duties in NZ once he’s finished racing, arrived in Sydney very fit.
"He's a beautiful moving horse who will really appreciate the speed on over here,'' he said.
"It's hard to get a line on him because he works by himself most of the time but he's going in the right direction anyway.''
Given he's on a course for a clash with Winx in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) next month Eminent, currently $51 with TAB, will need to find his best form so Sir Mark Todd has his work cut out.
The son of Frankel was unplaced in four starts in 2018 but has won three of his 11 starts, the latest of those back in 2017 where he won a Group 2 over 2000m at Deauville beating Avilius into third place.
He hasn’t raced since the Group 3 Glorious Stakes (2400m) at Goodwood where he ran fifth, beaten seven lengths, by Mirage Dancer.
There’s also the chance he could face Winx in the Group 1 $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 23, a few days after he finishes quarantine, if the champ’s connections change plans.
The Australian Turf Club is expecting three more arrivals once Eminent has completed his quarantine, a Japanese stayer who will land around March 18 plus a duo from Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby due in on Golden Slipper day.
Appleby is chasing a second Sydney Cup with Dubhe, following Polarisation's win in 2017, while sprinter D’Bai will contest the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 20.