Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin raider Kidmenever may be giving the weight away to his rivals at Sandown’s Ladbrokes Park in the Group 3 $150,000 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) on Saturday but the team remain confident the horse can run well fresh.
Appleby’s assistant trainer Chris Connett spoke to Racing Victoria this week saying the Baltic King entire had purposely been kept fresh for the weekend’s handicap clash and had worked well in his final pre-race hit-out on Wednesday morning.
“We’re very happy with him. He did his last blow-out yesterday,” Connett said on Thursday.
“Kerry, who rides him every day, is super happy with him. He’s bouncing fresh and good to go.
“It was just a blow-out, a regular canter around, the last 600m or so asked to stretch along and open his lungs a bit.
“Coming out of the race, he ate up and was bouncing. It’s just a matter of getting him fresh again, and being happy with him.”
Swiss Derby winner Kidmenever debuted down under on October 14 at Caulfield Racecourse running a disappointing eighth behind Lord Fandango in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
Jockey Glyn Schofield rode the five-year-old on 55.5kg that day, but Kidmenever couldn’t come within fourteen lengths of the winner in a run full of excuses.
The horse has not raced since, but Connett said that even going up to Saturday’s 59kg top weight should not be a problem with the drop in grade and distance to suit.
“Obviously the Herbert Power was disappointing – but there were some reasons for that,” he said.
“They went quick in front, and it was over a longer trip than what suits, so dropping back in trip on Saturday will be perfect.”
Appleby confirmed that Kidmenever had come through the Herbert Power Stakes failure well making a recovery from the thumps and internal pulmonary haemorrhage the horse was found to be suffering from post-race.
“He’s been routinely vet checked all the way,” Appleby told AAP last week.
“He’s put good solid work in over the last three weeks so that’s not a concern at all.”
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy comes aboard Kidmenever in the Eclipse Stakes field and rides the international from barrier eight of fourteen.
Kidmenever was originally entered for a Melbourne Cup Day run on November 7 but bypassed the 1800m clash after drawing wide, which was no indication of the horse’s race fitness according to
“When you’ve travelled this far we’re trying to give ourselves every opportunity to try and win,” he said.
“It was nothing to do with his wellbeing. We just felt it wasn’t the race for him.
“Coming this distance we want to make sure we’re ticking as many boxes as possible.”
Current Eclipse Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au list the horse as an $8.50 chance and Kidmenever is the genuine early market mover backed in from opening odds of $14.
The firm favourite however remains the rails-drawn Raw Impulse ($3.70), the Makfi stallion prepared by Darren Weir.
Raw Impulse hasn’t won since saluting in a Listed 1800m race in Adelaide last September, but was luckless when a close second over the Flemington mile on Emirates Stakes Day.
On the quick turnaround, the six-year-old drops from 58.5kg to 56kg and is out to atone.
Single-figure Eclipse Stakes hopes at Ladbrokes.com.au: Raw Impulse ($3.70), Payroll ($6), Kidmenever ($8.50), Dodging Bullets ($9.50), Jacquinot Bay ($9.50).