Caloundra gelding Eric The Eel has a tough final test as he tries to earn an Australian Derby start at the Gold Coast.
Eric The Eel won his last start in a 1600m-Plate race at Doomben but faces a big step up in class in the Gold Coast Quality (1800m).
Trainer Stuart Kendrick also entered Eric The Eel for a benchmark race at Rosehill but decided to stay in Queensland.
“He needs longer trips now and they were the two options. In the end it will give us a better guide running at the Gold Coast,” Kendrick said.
“It is a field of tough old campaigners who have been around for a while so it is a good test.
“Let’s face it if he can’t run well against these he can’t win an Australian Derby.”
“I am not saying he has to win but I do want him to race well to earn a trip.”
Kendrick said Eric The Eel would miss the Rosehill Guineas on Saturday week no matter what happened at the Gold Coast.
The likelihood of a wet Gold Coast track on Saturday means the Kris Lees-trained Hallelujah Boy come into calculations for the Quality.
Hallelujah Boy ran last on a good track at Eagle Farm on February 29 after finishing second in heavy going at Warwick Farm at his previous run.
“He is lengths better on a heavy track,” Lees’ Queensland spokesman Mel Eggleston said.