Joe Pride eyes drier tracks with Private Eye

Group 1 winner Private Eye will head to Doomben this weekend in an attempt to regain form on a more suitable surface than what has been on offer in Sydney this autumn.

After resuming with a handy third in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes, the Al Maher gelding wasn’t disgraced when fifth in the Group 1 George Ryder, before failing miserably when 19th of 20 in the Group 1 Doncaster on a shifting heavy nine.

Only last preparation had Private Eye posted a win in the Group 3 Show County followed by a fast-finishing Epsom victory, before heading down south to run an admirable fifth in the Mackinnon Stakes behind Zaaki.

Speaking with SEN’s Andrew Bensley on Tuesday morning, Proven Thoroughbreds syndicate manager Jamie Walter explained they will head to Queensland this weekend hoping for much more conducive conditions.

“Like so many trainers and connections and horses have had to deal with in Sydney this autumn, it’s just been sustained heavy tracks, bottomless tracks,” Walter said.

“Poor old Private Eye, I think like a lot of other horses, has just got sick of it.

“He ran well first-up in the Canterbury Stakes and then ran fifth in the (George) Ryder. But I think in the Doncaster he just announced that he’s had enough.

“It was the most disappointing run of his career, but we’re hoping that’s (heavy tracks) the explanation.”

The four-year-old is nominated for the $130,000 Tails Stakes over 1640m on Saturday and has been allotted the top weight of 61kgs. The 22 nominations have also attracted Group 2 winners Yonkers from the Chris Waller camp and Quantum Mechanic from the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr yard.

After such a disappointing performance in the Doncaster, Walter was hopeful his charger hadn’t lost his zest for racing.

“The way he’s pulled up would suggest not,” Walter said.

“Joe (Pride) gave him a trial the other day and he did a pretty good job in that.

“Fingers crossed we get reasonable ground there at Doomben on Saturday and he can rediscover his mojo.”

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