Eduardo Back For Another Challenge Stakes

This season is marking an inevitable changing of the guard in Australia’s elite sprinting ranks, but Joe Pride says that doesn’t mean the likes of his top galloper Eduardo and arch-rival Nature Strip are washed up.

Nature Strip is being freshened for an attempt at a record fourth T J Smith Stakes win after trainer Chris Waller could find no issue with him following his disappointing first-up sixth in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington.

However, at eight-years-old, the horse who holds the crown of the world’s best sprinter is closer to the end of his career than the beginning and there has been some debate on whether he should be retired.

Eduardo is a year older again, but Pride says many horses, particularly geldings, love racing and it is their trainer and owners who are in the best position to determine when that passion has waned.

“I hate people weighing in on when horses should retire when they’ve got nothing to do with the horse,” Pride said.

“None of us want to see our good horses underperform but we all know there are reasons why they might underperform on one given day, but that doesn’t mean they should be retired.

“These decisions should be left to the trainers and the connections of that horse.”

Eduardo didn’t race with his usual gusto last spring after winning the Concorde Stakes first-up but Pride said he had returned to the stable bright and keen.

While he is nine, he has been sparingly raced with 31 starts and Pride has been happy with his two barrier trials in the lead-up to his return in next Saturday’s Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick, a race he has won for the past two years.

“He’s enjoying his work and I’m very happy with him,” Pride said.

“Although I would like to see some rain for next Saturday.”

The carnival racing will ramp up another notch next weekend with nine of the 10 races at Randwick black-type events, headed by the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) for the three-year-olds and Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m).

– RAS NewsWire

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