Joe Pride’s recent recruit Eduardo has passed his first test but a bigger challenge awaits when he takes on a rich field in the Missile Stakes at Rosehill.
The former Victorian made an immediate impact on debut for the stable to win the July Sprint, his first victory since taking out a Group Two race in Melbourne in 2018.
Saturday’s 1200m feature boasts Epsom Handicap winner Kolding, star New Zealander Melody Belle and Godolphin mares Flit and Savatiano.
It will be a serious test and one that will tell Pride how high to aim with Eduardo this spring.
“It’s a real crossroads race for him because if he went really well, it takes him to another level,” Pride said.
“There are plenty of things we will learn on Saturday that will be used to make a plan going forward.”
Pride has a proven track record for rejuvenating the careers of older horses, notably Vision And Power and Destiny’s Kiss, who both went onto stakes race success under his care.
The trainer will be striving to win the Missile for the third time having captured it twice with speedster Rain Affair in 2011 and again two years later.
Rain Affair was coming off a winter preparation the first time he won and Eduardo will also have the benefit of race fitness.
Of the 13 Missile runners, nine are resuming and Pride suspects that could play into Eduardo’s hands.
“It’s vital. It’s very much to his advantage to be taking them on now, at least until we get a line through the horse and find out how good he is,’ Pride said.
“It’s nice to be taking them on now when I’m assuming they’re a little bit vulnerable.”
Mares have won four of the past six renewals and are again expected to figure on Saturday with Melody Belle, Flit and Savatiano all high in early markets.
Eduardo is also prominent and Pride believes punters have got it right.
“I would be surprised if the winner came from outside those mares and my boy,” Pride said.
“He’s got to take the chicks on but he’s ready for it.”