Robert Smerdon is trying to play down the hellish journey taken by his horse Eclair Mystic ahead of the Macau Sand Premier Cup midnight Friday our time.
Earlier in the week we detailed the incredible journey Ecliar Mystic had to undertake which included more than 10 hours on a float, eight hours on a plane, eight hour on a barge and other few hours of stationary time in between.
Smerdon though says he won’t be using it as an excuse and the horse has had plenty of time to recover from any associated fatigue.
“It wasn’t like there was anything that went wrong, it was just a long and drawn out trip,” he said.
“He handled it really well, he’s got a wonderful temperament.
“He’s picked up he’s ate well.”
Of far more pressing concern to Smerdon is how he’ll handle the new direction of racing and how he’ll cope with the sand surface.
One bonus the horse has is drawing barrier one so he’ll have that extra piece of time to find his feet from the stalls.
“I don’t know how the sand plays, I’m told it’s generally on speed and not a huge run to the first corner,” Smerdon said.
“I’m told that some horses get here and really struggle on the sand.”
There’s nothing he can really do about it though apart from giving him as much track time as possible in the lead up to the race.
“I don’t think there’s any way you can prepare for it, he either copes with it or he doesn’t,” he said.
Smerdon acknowledges they will try and take advantage of his gate draw with a positive position but it’s an idea that a few of them may try to replicate.
“From that gate you’d imagine he’d be able to hold a spot but because of the way the track races everyone’s trying to do something similar so there’s a fair bit of pressure,” he said.
Eclair Mystic has had just the single start since February finishing 11th of 12 horses over 1200m down the straight at Flemington in the MSS Security Sprint on Melbourne Cup Day.