Trainer Phillip Stokes is confident that Éclair Big Bang will run out a strong mile when he makes his debut at Group 1 level in the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) this Saturday.
Éclair Big Bang stamped himself as a genuine contender for the $1 million event with his impressive win in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield last Sunday but is untested over a mile and at the highest level of racing.
The son of Savabeel was ridden close to the speed in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude but Stokes told Racing Ahead that he is hopeful that his star galloper will be sitting in the middle of the field before finishing strongly in the final stages of the race this weekend.
“I envision that he will be sitting off the pace there and getting to the outside,”
“We bought him up very slowly his prep, he is at peak fitness now and I am sure that he will run a strong mile.”
Éclair Big Bang completed his final serious piece of work this morning, with regular jockey Dom Tourneur on board, and Stokes said he was impressed with what he saw and confident that his star galloper can give him his first ever Group 1 victory.
“We were happy with his work and he ran good time,” Stokes said.
“We just did a half mile even and stepped up at the 600, which was no problem.
“I am as confident as I can be going into a Group 1 in Melbourne.
“They are very hard to win, I haven’t won one, so we will see how we go.”
Stokes said that he is taking it one race at a time with the gelding but admitted that the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 was still an option for Éclair Big Bang depending on how he performs this weekend.
“I won’t get ahead of myself; we have always targeted the Caulfield Guineas,” Stokes said.
“I’ve also left him in the nominations for the Cox Plate.
“I will get Saturday over and done with first.”
Éclair Big Bang will become the third horse in the last four years to complete the Caulfield Guineas Prelude/ Caulfield Guineas double, following Anacheeva (2010) and Helmet (2011), if he is successful on Saturday.