By Ray Hickson
Jockey Nash Rawiller has endorsed the ‘fresh’ approach to Eduardo’s TAB Everest campaign as he prepares to reunite with the sprinter at Randwick on Saturday.
It had been four months since Rawiller last sat on Eduardo’s back - his Doomben 10,000 win - when they paired up to win a barrier trial last week and it was all he needed to be confident the eight-year-old is raring to go.
Trainer Joe Pride has long set out Eduardo’s TAB Everest mission as being second-up from a break with three trials into Saturday’s Group 2 $500,000 Bowermans Commercial Furniture Shorts (1100m) and a month to the main event.
“I hadn’t been on his back since Brisbane so it was great to get on him and see him looking so well,’’ Rawiller said.
“He cruised in that trial but I liked the way he relaxed early and when Mamaragan moved up to him he just picked up and towed me to the line.
“I think we’ve learned with him over time he seems to race best early in his preparation when he’s nice and fresh. Even when he gets later in his prep if he can get three or four weeks between runs he tends to perform better.”
Eduardo finished 11th in the TAB Everest last year but that performance was an anomaly and one Pride is eager to disprove.
He received his call up for the 2021 edition last weekend when secured by The Star & Arrowfield on the back of a stellar autumn which realised two Group 1 wins, a Group 2 win over Nature Strip in track record time and a gallant third in the TJ Smith Stakes.
“I think everyone stood up and took notice when he beat Nature Strip in the Challenge,’’ Rawiller said.
“It wasn’t like we didn’t meet Nature Strip somewhere near his best because they ran a track record."
Exactly where Eduardo, $8 with TAB on Thursday, lands in the Shorts after drawing barrier eight could be crucial both to his outcome and the overall speed picture in the race with Nature Strip and Rothfire, the other natural speedsters, drawn the middle.
Rawiller said his mount is versatile, as he showed in beating Nature Strip in the Challenge, but he’s also wary of what Eduardo’s best assests are.
“You’d probably like to have an easy kill going in but it’s not going to be like that,’’ he said.
“I am pleased my bloke has had the grounding to perform very well. I’d be sure that the race won’t hurt him.
“He has a very good high cruising speed so you tend to like to use that to your advantage. It’s more about getting him in his rhythm. He runs sectionals in his comfort zone.
“Like when he won the Galaxy, he’s running the time that is making horses work harder to keep up with him.”
A year ago Think It Over was runner-up as a $5.50 chance in the Shoot Out Mile, a benchmark 88, at the corresponding meeting and here is a shorter price to knock over the nation’s best racehorse in the Group 1 $1m Fujitsu General George Main Stakes (1600m).
It’s a testament to how much trainer Kerry Parker has been able to improve the gelding that he’s now a Group 1 winner and showed his class in claiming the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes two weeks ago.
“It was a good effort to win,’’ Rawiller said.
“I thought at the 100m we were going to struggle to win but he just kept giving.
Eduardo wins a trial at Randwick on September 10
“The leader gave such a great kick, it just didn’t stop, you would have expected it to come back to you late in the race but it didn’t.”
In chasing down Riodini, Think It Over ran the fastest last 600m of the Chelmsford (34.09, Punter’s Intelligence). Third-up last preparation he won the Group 1 George Ryder and Rawiller feels he’s set to improve further.
He was $4.40 second favourite with TAB on Thursday behind Verry Elleegant.
“I did feel he had a really good blow after the race, he didn’t peak on his run at all and was still hitting the line strong, so I think that would have tightened him right up,’’ he said.
“Every preparation he’s come back better and better. He’s been well looked after and beautifully placed and he’s been able to improve every time he’s come back. That’s why this preparation he has the chance to go on with the job.”