By Glenn Davis
The stakes will be high for talented three-year-old Eric The Eel when he makes a low-key return at Doomben on Wednesday.
Eric The Eel hasn’t raced since finishing fifth in the Group 1 J J Atkins at Eagle Farm in June but is primed for a strong first-up showing in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap (1350m).
The son of Olympic Glory was picked up for a song at the Magic Millions QTIS June sale last year.
“We got him for $6,000 at the sales last year mainly because he was a gangly looking immature type,” said trainer Stu Kendrick.
Eric The Eel has returned his owners ten times his purchase price with two wins and two seconds from seven starts.
Kendrick has always believed Eric The Eel was a top line stayer in the making and has earmarked the Sydney and Melbourne spring carnivals for the gelding.
“His last run in the J J Atkins was terrific,” Kendrick said.
“He struck bad luck when he was last out of the gates and then lost another couple of lengths midrace.”
Kendrick has given Eric The Eel a barrier trial and jump out to prepare for his comeback.
“He’s had an 870 metre barrier trial and a jump out over 1270 metres at the Sunshine Coast,” he said.
“I was very pleased with both gallops as he hit the line strongly both times.
“He’s probably a week behind where I’d like him to be that’s why he’s starting off at the midweeks.
“But this is the right distance to start him off in although 1350 metres around Doomben isn’t ideal.”
Kendrick has the Group 1 Victoria Derby at Flemington in November in mind with Eric The Eel but his first port of call is likely to be Sydney.
“It depends how he goes tomorrow but he won’t have another run before he goes away,” Kendrick said.
“He’s fit enough to win first-up but it’s just a matter whether he can pick them up.
“If he runs well, he’ll go to Sydney first for the Gloaming Stakes and Spring Champion Stakes then go down for the Victoria Derby.
“He’s in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude and Caulfield Guineas but I just feel they might be too brilliant for him over 1600 metres in Melbourne.”
The Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) will be run at Rosehill on September 28 with the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 12.
Racing Queensland webnews September 16