Tahaila Schmidt with Ultimate Eagle.
Tahaila Schmidt with Ultimate Eagle. Tim Howard

Better gate could get Ultimate Eagle soaring

AN IMPROVED barrier draw might be just the change of luck immature five-year-old Ultimate Eagle needs to break his duck at Grafton today.

The grey has drawn barrier 8 in race 4, The Racecourse Function Centre Maiden Plate 1710m, a welcome change from the 12 and beyond gates he's endured in his four previous starts for trainer Dwayne Schmidt.

"He's had no luck at all with the barriers,” he said. "He's a bit closer in today and he's suggesting the increased distance today will suit him.”

Schmidt said Ultimate Eagle, bred in New Zealand, was more likely to be a 2000m horse.

"He's breeding suggests 1700m will be better for him and he's been tending to run on well at the end of 1400m races he's had to date, which means he's got more in him.”

Schmidt said Ultimate Eagle has yet to show his real form on race day.

"If he performed like he did on the training track, he would be winning races by now,” he said.

"The penny hasn't dropped for him yet. He's immature in the head, more like a two-year-old colt, that's still got a bit to learn.

"But that could be his New Zealand breeding. They tend not to rush them over there.”

Schmidt has also engaged a stable regular, Matt Paget, to take the reins today.

"Matt rode him in a gallop early in this preparation and went brilliant with him,” he said. "Brooke Stower has been on him, but she's having a ride for (John) Shelton, so we've elected to go with Matt who's had a bit of luck with him.”



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