Show County Quality: Private Eye emerges as serious player for Epsom Handicap and Golden Eagle

Trainer Joe Pride declared Private Eye “the real deal” after his stunning return to racing at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Private Eye unleashed a brilliant finishing burst to beat a crack field of sprinters in the Group 3 $160,000 Show County Quality (1200m).

Pride is the No.1 ticketholder in the Private Eye fan club but even he was taken aback by the gelding’s first-up effort.

“Private Eye is a miler and to see him sprint like that when it is generally not their forte tells you how good he has come back,’’ Pride said.

“His (barrier) trials told me that and I did a good job of talking it down all week mainly to myself.

“I kept saying whatever happens today he will be better for the run and he will be looking for further which is true.

“But I knew the way he trialled he was in for something special.’’

Private Eye over the top!

The quality gelding adds the Show County Quality to his excellent record. 🔥@[email protected]/wOVgcbP9E0

Private Eye ($9) finished powerfully to run down Embracer ($8) to win by a short-neck with Icebath ($15) a length away third.

Splintex was sent out the $3.60 favourite and after leading for home he held on to run fourth, just over a length behind the winner.

Although Private Eye stopped the clock at 1min 10.2sec, the real merit of his win was reflected in his final 600m closing sectional of a flying 32.75s.

“That was everything I could have wanted and more from that horse,’’ Pride said.

“I have seen it too many times with good horses when they trial like that they are just different horses but that was something else.’’

Private Eye was having his first start since winning the Queensland Guineas on May 1 and improved his impressive race record to seven wins from just 10 starts.

“The Queensland spell and the trip away has helped him, there’s a lot to be said for it,’’ Pride continued.

“This horse has grown up, we saw that today. He went away as an adolescent and he has returned the finished product. He’s the real deal – he’s a very good horse.’’

Pride confirmed Private Eye will be aimed at the Group 1 $1.5m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 2 and the $7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on October 30.

“I will go to the Theo Marks in three weeks then the Shannon Stakes a week before the Epsom,’’ the trainer said.

“He should get into the Epsom with a light weight and he’s a horse that cops a bit of racing. I’m not afraid to run him, I don’t need to keep him super fresh.’’

Private Eye flies home to win the Show County Quality. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Jay Ford made the most of his late call-up to ride Private Eye after regular jockey Brenton Avdulla was injured earlier on the Randwick program when involved in a fall on Xtremetime.

Pride said Avdulla’s misfortune at least gave him the answer to which lightweight jockey he will use on Private Eye in the Epsom.

“I think I have found my Epsom rider as Jay can ride light,’’ Pride said.

“Then hopefully Brenton is all right and will be back on the horse for the Golden Eagle.’’

Ford certainly made a strong case to ride Private eye in the Epsom after doing everything right on the exciting gelding to win the Show Count.

“He’s some horse, his record speaks for itself and he’s making giant leaps through the grades,’’ Ford said.

“I know Joe was very happy with his trials leading into today and this race was a starting point.

“They have ambitions to get up over further and possibly an Epsom berth. If that is a sign of the things to come then he’s in for a really good spring.”

Ford said Private Eye’s win was outstanding given the race wasn’t run at a frenetic tempo early.

“It was a steadily run first half of the race and then they ripped home,’’ Ford said.

“He still managed to sit four or five off them and get over the top. He’s obviously got a motor and he’s pretty talented.”

Originally published asPride has Eye on Epsom, Eagle with rising talent

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