Trainer Leon Macdonald could not be happier with Essay Raider ahead of the 2014 The Goodwood and is confident that the talented gelding can record his maiden win at Group 1 level at Morphettville on Saturday.
Essay Rider started his autumn campaign with a fair fourth behind Driefontein in the Group 3 Irwin Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville on April 12 and stamped himself as a leading contender for The Goodwood with a dominant win in the Group 3 McKay Stakes (1100m) at the same venue on April 26.
Macdonald told Racing Ahead that he was very pleased with the performance of Essay Raider in the McKay Stakes and said that the son of Bernardini had trained on strongly ahead of the 2014 The Goodwood this weekend.
“His work has been very good since and he is probably a really good chance in the race,” Macdonald said.
“He tracked into it very well and he has trained on extremely well since.
“I think that he is a second to none chance.
“He just has such a great turn-of-foot when he is on song and if you look at his form, he has had 19 runs for five wins and five seconds and they are probably all in good company races.
“If you took a few out, where we tried him over a mile or 1400, then his form is fairly good.”
Essay Raider drew barrier 13 in the 2014 The Goodwood barrier draw but, with a number of the leading chances drawn towards the outside of the field, the four-year-old is predicted by speed mappers to be able to settle close to the rail and Macdonald confirmed that he is not worried about the wide draw.
“If I had my choice I would have been somewhere between eight and ten or eight and 12 because he doesn’t always begin as well as some others from the inside,” Macdonald said.
“It just gives him some room and I am not worried about the barrier.”
Essay Raider will be having his first start at Group 1 level in the Goodwood, but has performed well in two starts in Group 2 events; finishing second in the 2012 Euclase Stakes (1200m) and an unlucky seventh behind Fontelina in the Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
Driefontein currently remains a narrow favourite in 2014 The Goodwood betting markets; with Essay Raider available at a quote of $12.