Phillip Stokes has both Éclair Big Bang and Lucky Symbol in the 2014 Euclase Stakes field and the leading South Australian trainer believes that he can’t split the talented duo heading into the Group 2 event at Morphettville on Saturday.
Lucky Symbol finished half a length in front of Éclair Big Bang in the Listed Redelva Stakes (1050m) at Morphettville on April 12, but Stokes told RSN this morning that the Savabeel gelding had taken plenty of benefit out of his first-up run and can bridge the difference between his stablemate in the Euclase Stakes this weekend.
“Both horses came through the run well,” Stokes said.
“Éclair Big Bang has taken a bit more fitness from that first-up run.
“There is not a lot between them and I can’t split them to be honest.
“In trackwork we can’t split them.”
Éclair Big Bang was taken to Melbourne for the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and stamped himself as a horse to watch with an impressive win in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 29, but failed to fire in both the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12 and the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 2.
Stokes said that Éclair Big Bang had improved mentally from his stint in Melbourne, but believes that the three-year-old still needs to find cover in his races to perform at his best, while Lucky Symbol can handle a number of different conditions.
“He is probably a more tractable horse than Big Bang; Big Bang has more potential, but he is a bit of a hot head,” Stokes said.
“I think that he has improved from the spring, but I just have to keep him to sprinting.
“He just needs to draw a good barrier and get a bit of cover; that is what it boils down to with him.
“1400 is probably about as far as he wants.”
Éclair Big Bang will wear a tongue tie for the first time since he finished at the tail of the field in the Caulfield Guineas and Stokes is hoping that the gear change will help the enigmatic gelding perform at his best in the Euclase Stakes.
“We put it on him in the Guineas and the occasion got to him on that day and he played up before the start, so I took it off
“I have just noticed that he plays a lot with his tongue in his trackwork and I am hoping that helps him a bit.”
The Quarterback ($3.20) is currently a narrow favourite in 2014 Euclase Stakes betting markets from Miracles Of Life ($3.40), Éclair Big Bang ($4) and Lucky Symbol ($8).