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Ad Private Eye ridden by Joshua Parr wins the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington Racecourse in October, 2022. (George Sal/Racing Photos)

Early kick off for Private Eye

16 February 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

An early start to an autumn campaign was planned by Joe Pride to avoid wet tracks for Private Eye.

With an aversion to wet tracks, Sydney trainer Joe Pride has his quality sprinter Private Eye up and going a little earlier than previous campaigns to beat any potential rain. 

The Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday will see Private Eye have his first-up outing after a successful spring campaign that saw him run third in The Everest at Randwick. 

Pride said wet tracks have thwarted Private Eye's previous autumn campaigns and knowing how well Flemington drains, should there be an unexpected downpour, he is happy to take up the challenge of tackling Imperatriz and company on Saturday. 

"Autumn hasn't been his best time of year for a few different reasons," Pride told RSN. 

"He's hit a lot of wet tracks in his last couple of autumn preparations and they haven't helped him at all as he's clearly not very good on heavy tracks. 

"I thought to avoid that, I would get him up early and have him ready to go in the Lightning knowing Flemington is rarely, touch wood, wet and if it does get wet it doesn't get to heavy very often. 

"I thought it was a nice assignment for him knowing how well he can sprint fresh." 

Private Eye has raced twice on the Flemington straight, for a win and a fourth-place finish in last year's Newmarket Handicap, after which he was diagnosed with a minor knee ailment. 

Both those races were at 1200m, but Pride has deliberately adapted Private Eye's training to have him fresh for Saturday's assault. 

"He had one particularly quiet trial and in his last one we asked him to do a bit more, but not a lot," Pride said. 

"He's had both trials without his blinkers and gets his race day blinkers back on for Saturday. 

"I think he will be in the finish, but it will be interesting against the mare. 

"She's a great sprinter and the race might be decided by tempo and luck in running." 

Pride hopes there will be nice tempo to allow both Private Eye and Imperatriz their best chances. 

After Saturday, Pride will again be guided by the weather. 

He said Private Eye could return for the Newmarket Handicap next month, or races like the Challenge Stakes and Canterbury Stakes in Sydney are possibilities or freshen for the T J Smith

"We'll try and avoid wet tracks," Pride said. 

"There's a lot of different options and I'm not committing to anything knowing he's a horse that is versatile and doesn't like a wet track." 

Join us in celebrating the legacy of the great Black Caviar whose stellar career consisted of 25 undefeated races. Some of the world’s fastest horses will be lining up in the $1,000,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m), named in the legendary mare’s honour.

The Flemington Fareground makes an exciting return, transformed into an ultimate resort style experience, entrance is free with your race day ticket. Find out more