Trainer Martyn Meade has built himself a fortune in business by spotting opportunities and making clever investments when he sees them.
Given he approaches life in that way, it was a bold call to step his stable star Eminent up from just a maiden win straight to the Craven Stakes at Newmarket last time. However, much like his business acumen, Meade was spot on with his views of Eminent and the son of Frankel duly scored in style.
Eminent now steps up in grade again, this time for the first Classic of the season. We talk to Meade to find out what he expects at Newmarket and other horses to watch out for.
We have nearly reached the Qipco 2,000 Guineas. How are things with Eminent?
Everything’s looking alright at the moment and everything’s firmly crossed. The last days before a race are always the most nervous time, especially as I think he has a very good chance in the race.
Eminent is by the stallion Frankel. Many Frankel’s have quite strong characters, so what is Eminent like?
I wouldn’t like to have to ride him out everyday, that’s for certain. He has this wonderful way of jumping up off all four legs and bucking. The great thing is that he does have a seriously sensible brain. He’s just playful and doesn’t do anything that would put anyone in danger. He loves life and he’s a bit of a lad, I suppose.
You stepped Eminent straight up from a maiden to the Craven Stakes. What were you expecting last time and what did you make of the performance?
I was hoping he’d live up to the promise he’d shown when winning his maiden at the end of last year. He doesn’t do an awful lot at home because he has such a long stride, so it’s hard to judge what he’s done. The whole Craven performance was confirming my thoughts that he is quite a good horse.
Eminent has had just two runs. Do you see this as a potential problem in a big race like this?
He’s inexperienced and there’s no way of disguising that. He has progressed with each run he’s had so far and I expect him to do the same again in the Guineas. We’re on our minimum trip as well. He started over a mile last year and has stayed at that so far, but I suspect this may well be the last time he runs over this trip.
So something like the Investec Derby could be next?
We don’t actually think he’s a miler but we think he’s good enough to get away with it. If we can finish placed or better we’ll definitely think of going to the Derby with him and this race can be a prep run for that.
Jim Crowley rides Eminent at Newmarket, as he has on both starts so far. Do you see that as an advantage?
That helps a huge amount. Firstly, he’s a top-class jockey. I think he’s helped the horse tremendously with how he’s ridden him in the past. He’s a big horse so going into the Dip is a bit complicated with him, but Jim’s always got the best out of him. Jim rode him perfectly in the Craven as we need a good pace and he made sure we got a great tow into the race that day.
Away from Eminent, you also have Acclaim to look forward to this season. What are the plans for him?
He definitely goes to the Lockinge. He’s improved a lot over the winter and is much stronger now. We started off a little ambitiously with him last year, but as soon as we dropped him down in grade and worked back up the grades that helped him a great deal. As he’s stronger now I’ve got no worries about going for this race.
And, finally, is there anything else from your stable we should keep an eye out for?
Not in the coming weeks but definitely for later in the year. We’ve got some lovely two-year-olds later this year, much like Eminent, and they will be ones we’re really looking forward to later in the year.