By Ray Hickson
The fact Greg Eurell is prepared to bring promising colt Ilovemyself to Sydney for a late shot at winning a place in the $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper speaks plenty about his opinion of the youngster.
And Eurell says he’s very serious about Ilovemyself backing up next week if he win the Group 3 $175,000 Bowermans Commercial Furniture Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
A win is a must for the colt, second place won’t earn him enough prizemoney after banking $92,200 from his debut win, plus the owners must part with a $150,000 late entry fee.
“He is a really nice horse, I have quite a bit of time for him,’’ Eurell said.
“He does a lot more than average horses do so if he can win it’ll be great to have a shot at the big one that’s for sure.
“It’s not a cheap entry at $150,000 but if he does win he frees himself from the ballot and wins a bit towards the entry fee.’’
Ilovemyself was a solid $2.90 favourite with TAB on Friday to win his way into the Slipper, something that seemed highly unlikely even a few months ago.
When nominations for the Slipper were taken the colt by Ilovethiscity wasn’t even in Eurell’s system and he could easily not have raced at two.
The Cranbourne trainer said shin soreness almost forced him to send the colt to the paddock without a start but he managed to shake it off and make that impressive debut at Flemington two weeks ago.
“He’s been in and out a couple of times, he’s just been a prep behind a lot of horses that get bought at yearling sales,’’ Eurell said.
“The Slipper was never a thought in our minds. He’s a lovely style of horse but you look at him and think he’ll be a lovely three-year-old.
“Once we started to get towards the business end he started to give us a bit more, not that he was doing anything wrong at home.
“Whatever you ask him to do in his work he did but we never got to the bottom of him because we were fearful he would go shinsore.
“That race at Flemington just seemed a nice race to kick him off, albeit it’s a bit in the deep end in a Listed race down the straight the first time.’’
I love this 2YO! No luck, but Ilovemsyelf wins impressively on debut in the Listed @VerySpecialKids Plate over 1000m at @FlemingtonVRC. Bred and raced by Neville Murdoch’s @larneuk Stud, Ilovemyself is the 3rd stakes winner for Group One winning sprinter, Ilovethiscity. pic.twitter.com/YHluEGtSlF
— Aushorse (@Aushorse_TBA) February 29, 2020
Ilovemyself has been in Sydney for more than a week, stabled with Gerald Ryan at Rosehill, and Eurell said he saw more than enough in his work earlier this week to be satisfied he’ll produce his best in the Pago Pago.
It’s a race that hasn’t produced a Golden Slipper winner since Stratum in 2005 but Victorian colt Written By won the race in 2018 before finishing a close fourth in the Slipper.
“He’s eating super and he galloped there Tuesday morning and worked solid. He was very tractable, you would have sworn the horse has been there all his life,’’ he said.
“I truly believe over 1200m we are going to have a better horse. I have no doubt he will make a lovely three-year-old. I’m really looking forward to that.’’
Nash Rawiller rides Ilovemyself in the Pago Pago, he’s committed to Mamaragan in the Slipper so it’s likely, if he does win, Damien Oliver will be back in the saddle next Saturday.