Eminent signals Classic credentials

21 April 2017 10:25:13 UK

The Martyn Meade-trained Eminent has put himself firmly in the Classic picture with victory in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

Eminent had run just once before lining up in the recognised Guineas trail, winning a maiden contest over the Newmarket course and distance last September in good style.

He was coming here for a trial, not to say this was his big day.

Martyn Meade

He turned up on the Rowley Mile with everything to prove against some toughened pattern race performers and he certainly did just that.

Under champion jockey Jim Crowley, Eminent raced just behind the early pace in the stands side group of runners before moving steadily forwards to make his challenge entering the final quarter of a mile.

He handled the infamous dip superbly well as Crowley waited patiently to make his move, with Eminent showing his class to take victory by a length-and-three-quarters from Rivet in a time of one minute and 35.15 seconds, the quickest recorded in the Craven for more than 50 years.

His success will have the racing world taking notice and he is now 6/1 to win the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas back at Newmarket on 6th May, where he would become the first Classic-winning progeny of the great Frankel should he do so.

His trainer was mightily impressed with the Craven performance.

"The way he hit the dip, Jim held him together nicely and I knew when he was in that position, they weren't going to stop him. He is just a magnificent striding horse," said Meade.

"He has proven he can do it with those Group horses, which was obviously my worry bringing him here thinking 'are we really able to step him up?', but this was the only way to find out."

Meade also suggested that Eminent was far from fully wound up for the Craven, with the belief being he will improve again for his Classic mission in just over two weeks.

"He was not 100 per-cent wound up, but I didn't want to overdo him as it is a trial after all. He was coming here for a trial, not to say this was his big day," he added.

"It is tremendously significant. This is the beginning really isn't it? This is the thing we have been waiting six months for. Did the bubble burst? No it didn't, it is still alive."

Rivet, second in the Craven for trainer William Haggas, is now 20/1 for 2,000 Guineas success, while Aiden O'Brien's Churchill is rated a 13/8 chance for the opening British Classic of the campaign.

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