It took some wise words from Joe Pride’s son Brave for the trainer to look beyond Private Eye’s modest pedigree and start believing he could be the stable’s next star.
By veteran stallion Al Maher out of a Shamardal mare, Private Eye’s parentage would hardly get breeding buffs enthused.
When he started to show talent at home, Pride wondered aloud whether the horse could possibly have the genes to be a top-class galloper.
“My son is young but he’s wise at times. I said to him about six months ago, ‘I really like this horse, Private Eye, but I’m just a bit worried he’s by Al Maher’,” Pride recalled.
“Brave said to me, ‘who was Terravista by dad?’. I said, ‘Captain Rio’. And then he said, ‘who was Red Oog by?’ and I said Brief Truce.
“And he said, what are you worried about?”
And so Private Eye has become the latest modestly-bred galloper to make his mark for Pride.
A dazzling first-up victory in the Show County Quality took his record to seven wins from 10 starts and had Pride reaching for the rewind button.
“I’ve watched the replay about 10 times. I just loved the manner of the win,” he said.
“It was just good to see him put it all together so early in the prep. He’s set his preparation up really well.”
The four-year-old will face his next challenge in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday but there are loftier goals ahead.
The Epsom Handicap and Golden Eagle are both in Pride’s sights and Private Eye’s effort in the Theo Marks will determine which race he contests on the way to his first goal.
“I’m pretty keen to give him one more before the Epsom so it will either be back up in the Bill Ritchie or wait two weeks for the Shannon and that will be decided by what we see on Saturday,” Pride said.
Private Eye remains solid in the market and is a $3.30 second pick behind $3.20 favourite Big Parade, who has been a slight drifter.
There has been strong early money for first-up specialist Roheryn, who has firmed from an opening quote of $15 into $8.50, while Madam Rouge has also been supported from $15 into $10.