Eduardo

Brian Park and Sarah Zschoke after Eduardo's Caulfield Sprint win last spring (Image: Racing Photos)

Park: Eduardo could be one of the best

Craig Williams claimed after last month's Black Caviar Lightning that Osborne Bulls is the best sprinter in Australia.

Brian Park is unwilling to commit to similar claims with Eduardo, who like Osborne Bulls is winless at Group 1 level.

The Flemington straight will pit both horses together in the company of another 20 sprinters, including eight Group 1 winners, for this Saturday's $1.25 million G1 Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap (1200m).

And therefore the status of Australia's leading sprinters is destined to be shuffled after Victoria's richest handicap sprint race.

"What my horse has done in such a short space of time, I think he can be one of the best sprinters going around in time," Park said.

"With how far he's come in just six starts, it's just remarkable."

Eduardo has been aggressively placed through his career by Park's partner, Cranbourne trainer Sarah Zschoke, after winning his maiden at Moe on heavy ground last June.

The son of Host has never missed a place from six starts, with his lone Stakes victory coming in October's G2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) under weight-for-age conditions.

"I trialled him before Moe (his debut) and I got off the horse and said to Sarah, 'This horse is a Group horse without a doubt'. I thought he was up to Group 2 level at the very least and he's done that (by winning the Caulfield Sprint) so he's made me look good," Park quipped.

"We gave him that easy kill at Moe and then he won at Sandown Hillside at his second start and the way he went about his business there, we knew we were on the right track."

Eduardo has raced just once down the Flemington straight, finishing second in the G2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) a fortnight before his Caulfield Sprint success.

"He ran in the Gilgai and through his greenness, he ran down the straight and he was looking for a corner," Park said.

"He zig-zagged a little bit up the straight but I thought that run in the Gilgai was just fantastic, particularly with the weight he had to carry (56kg, meeting Bons Away at level weights at just his fourth start) and it was only a few strides before the line he got nabbed by I Am Excited.

"With that experience of being down the Flemington straight once before I'd expect him to improve and race a lot more truly."

Park had his first Group 1 ride in more than a decade when Eduardo resumed in the $500,000 Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield last month.

Eduardo finished third, beaten less than a length by Booker, producing a fighting on-pace effort after settling no closer than three wide on a blistering pace established by Nature Strip.

Nature Strip wilted into 10th while Eduardo wobbled around the home turn, which Park is convinced cost the five-year-old gelding victory.

"If he got around the bend and didn't wobble, I'm sure he had a kick in him that would have made sure he wasn't beaten three-quarters of a length," Park said.

"That run in the Oakleigh Plate would have topped him off nicely for the Newmarket, he was like a bulldog to the line."

Park partnered Eduardo in his final serious piece of trackwork at Cranbourne on Tuesday morning.

"He worked nicely up on the bridle and has pulled up terrific. All things going towards the Newmarket are going great," Park said.

"I never would have imagined getting on a horse as good as Eduardo, I've ridden a few nice horses but he's my top pick by far."

Whether Eduardo is the pick of Australia's sprinting division will be determined this Saturday.

Inexperienced Newmarket runners - since 2010

Fourth start

King Pulse (Michael Moroney), 3G, fourth in 2010 with 50kg

Sixth start

African Pulse (Michael Moroney), 3C, ninth in 2012 with 50kg

King Pulse (Michael Moroney), 4G, fifth in 2011 with 52.5kg

Seventh start

Five Car Stud (Anthony Cummings), 6G, FTF in 2010 with 52kg

Trusting (John Thompson), 3C, tenth in 2010 with 50kg

Eighth start

Merchant Navy (Aaron Purcell), 3C, third in 2018 with 52kg

Extreme Choice (Mick Price), 3C, sixth in 2017 with 53kg

Secret Agenda (Mick Price), 3F, seventh in 2016 with 50kg

Bernabeu (John O'Shea), 3G, last in 2014 with 50.5kg

Ninth start

Booker (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra), 3F, seventh in 2018 with 50kg

Better Than Ready (Kelly Schweida), 3C, fifth in 2013 with 50.5kg

Star Witness (Danny O'Brien), 3C, seventh in 2011 with 53kg

Tenth start

Redkirk Warrior (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig), 6G, first in 2017 with 52.5kg

Brazen Beau (Chris Waller), 3C, first in 2015 with 52kg

Shamexpress (Danny O'Brien), 3C, first in 2013 with 51.5kg