Pressure, nerves, excitement.
Joe Pride is feeling all of them as he prepares nominal Everest favourite Think About It for his seasonal return in the Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
It comes a fortnight after stablemate Private Eye booked himself an Everest slot with an outstanding victory in the Shorts and while Sydney’s showpiece of the spring is still two weeks from Saturday, Pride admits it’s hard not to be preoccupied by the thought of having two chances in a $20 million race.
“Honestly, there’s not too many minutes of the day that go past where it doesn’t go through my mind,” Pride said.
“It’s exciting to have them in there and it’s hard not to think about them.”
While Private Eye had to audition for an Everest berth, Think About It is in the position of having it wrapped up prior to his first-up assignment after he was locked in early by slot holders Newgate.
It might have made preparations a little easier, but Pride still needs to see the Stradbroke Handicap winner perform, and he also wants to see improvements in Think About It’s pre-race demeanour.
The gelding played up in the parade ring prior to his winter carnival wins at Eagle Farm and Pride doesn’t want a repeat.
“He’s always been a bit like that, but Eagle Farm was the height of it, although he still won,” he said.
“He can afford to play around and be a bit of a goof and still perform, but he could hurt himself too, so we just want him doing the right thing.
“This is the same track, same distance, same pre-parade as what we’re going to have on Everest day and it will be a busy day, there will be a big crowd, so it will be a good simulation.”
Think About It is a $2 favourite for the Premiere Stakes and a $4 unibet top pick for the Everest.
With nine rivals and from barrier two, Saturday’s race sets up well for him on paper and while he isn’t competing for one of the remaining vacant slots, he is racing to confirm his worthiness as an Everest favourite.
With that in mind, Pride is going to Randwick expecting to come home with a win, or a result as good as.
“There is always a set of circumstances where you can get beaten and it’s as good as a win,” he said.
“I’m thinking he at least has to put in a performance that is as good as a win.”
Mazu is the only other Premiere Stakes runner safely in the Everest, while several others will need to put their hand up on Saturday if they are to press for a berth.
Among them is former UK sprinter Alcohol Free, who can secure the slot held by her owners Yu Long Investments with a strong showing, while Lost And Running finally gets a low draw in barrier one as he chases back-to-back Premiere Stakes titles.
– RAS NewsWire