Private Eye out to rectify his Sydney autumn form

Joe Pride has spotted an anomaly in the otherwise outstanding record of his high-class sprinter Private Eye, and it has made him wonder whether the horse’s slight form slump is seasonal.

The 11-time winner and proven Group 1 performer is yet to strike a blow during the Sydney autumn carnival, his best results two minor placings from eight appearances.

“If he doesn’t win this autumn, it will be four autumns in a row that he hasn’t won a race,” Pride said.

“He’s a bit hard to place and he gets a lot of wet tracks, which has contributed, but then in the winter he’s good.

“He likes the spring, he likes the winter, but the autumn has been a tricky time for him.”

Private Eye will get another chance to rectify his Sydney autumn statistics when he lines up in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.

The horse has had a mixed campaign, splitting the recently retired Imperatriz and Saturday’s rival Espiona in the Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington, then getting too far out of his ground when sixth to Passive Aggressive in the Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick.

He was never in the contest from a wide draw in The Galaxy (1100m), then missed a scheduled start in the TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) due to a wet track.

Pride compensated for that by giving the gelding a barrier trial at Warwick Farm last week with James Mcdonald in the saddle and the trainer has drawn confidence from the top jockey’s decision to stick with Private Eye on Saturday.

“James was very impressed with him when he trialled him on Friday and had a fair bit of confidence in the horse,” Pride said.

“I like that. I like the fact he has had a sit on him, and he takes that confidence into the race because Private Eye at his best, he would beat those horses.”

The final Group 1 race of the Sydney autumn carnival, the All Aged Stakes has attracted a field of 14 with Private Eye ($8.50) one of six runners marked at $10 and under.

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