Meade relishing chance to pitch Eminent into battle with Cracksman
Martyn Meade is hoping that Eminent, the star of his Manton stable, will head to Royal Ascot and a clash with Cracksman next week with memories of his Chester disaster firmly behind him.
On Wednesday the trainer outlined the rest of his team for Flat racing's most prestigious meeting and it will include Chilean, who was supplemented for Tuesday's St James's Palace Stakes on Wednesday morning at a cost of £50,000.
A son of Frankel, Eminent, was sixth in the 2,000 Guineas and fourth in the Derby as well last term, but failed to fire when a well-beaten favourite in the Huxley Stakes at Chester on his most recent start.
There was a suspicion last year's Craven winner might have had a minor problem with his heart on that occasion, but Meade has been delighted with him since and is gunning for a showdown with Cracksman in the Prince of Wales's Stakes.
"He'd been off the track for a long time and while he'd been working well at home and we thought we had him there in good order, something went wrong on the day," said Meade, reflecting on the Chester appearance.
"Initially we thought it was a heart problem, but nothing showed up at all when he got home – we had him checked out in every respect.
"He's thrived since then. Perhaps he was overawed by the day, as he's a really intelligent horse. He'd been off for a long time and maybe it was a complete one-off."
Eminent is a general 14-1 shot for the Prince of Wales's, with Cracksman a best-priced 11-10.
"He's been absolutely perfect since and hasn't put a foot wrong," added Meade. "I've been thrilled with him, although we've taken things with a lot of caution. As we've got closer to D-day at Ascot he's got stronger and better.
"I took him to Windsor to have a wander around the paddock before racing to make sure he wasn't too much on edge, and he wasn't; he loved it. He's worked brilliantly since and I just have to put Chester behind me. From everything I've seen at home he should show up well."
As for his thoughts on the tussle with workmanlike Coronation Cup winner Cracksman, Meade, who moved to Manton this spring from Newmarket, said: "Epsom wasn't Cracksman's brightest day, but all of his other runs have been pretty impressive.
"He finished three-quarters of a length ahead of us in the Derby, that was all and we were squeezed, although Cracksman has clearly improved.
"I've got the utmost confidence in my horse. He had a good season last term, it was just winning that elusive Group 1 he missed out on; I'm pretty confident."
Meade's Ascot runners will also include Advertise in the Coventry Stakes, Wilamina in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Walk In The Sun in the Jersey and Infrastructure in the King George V Handicap if he makes the cut.
"He ran very well first time out at Longchamp and looking back at Sandown it was just a bit too far for him on a stiff track in testing conditions; those three things didn't suit him," said Meade.
"It's a big ask to step into the St James's Palace, but there's no reason we shouldn't.
"It's a strong thing to do to supplement, but I think he deserves it and think he's earned his place there. I don't think we saw the best of him at Sandown."
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