By Chris Roots
When you have a tough, honest stayer like Dr Drill, trainer David Eustace knows that getting it in the right race at the right time is crucial.
He believes Saturday’s McKell Cup (2000m) is that race for Dr Drill, which goes into it third up off a second placing in the Scone Cup (1600m).
“He is going extremely well and I would say it is as good of form as he has ever raced in,” Eustace said.
“He gets to a trip where I think he is his best at – 2000m – and the dry track is another bonus for him.
“He had no luck first up in Melbourne, and then the heavy track just took his change of gear away from him at Scone, where he was very good.
“I would say this is the first time this preparation where I have been really confident of his winning chances.”
It has been more than two years since Dr Drill graced the winner’s circle in the 2020 Scone Cup, which came after success in the Cranborne Cup in 2019.
His best would be good enough to win the listed feature on Saturday, and Eustace believes his form is equal to last spring when he was runner-up in the Geelong Cup and Zipping Classic.
“He is a sound horse that is getting that bit older, so you are always wary about them not getting back to that level again,” Eustace continued. “But he is so honest and just keeps turning up and running really good races.
“He has certainly been very good in his two runs back and is getting to his peak, and the smaller field will help him as well.
“His work indicates he has improved from Scone, and the extra trip has always brought the best out of him.”
Dr Drill is the $4.60 equal second favourite with the Chris Waller-trained Skyman for the McKell Cup, where last-start winner Surf Dancer is the $3.50 top pick.
“He is one of those horses that you would like to see back as a winner, because I think he is capable of stringing a couple together the way he is going, especially back on the drier tracks,” Eustace said. “The good track is what he really needs to be at his best.”
Eustace is also delighted to get another import, Eaglemont, back on firmer tracks for first run in Sydney since coming to Australia.
He has won twice in Australia, including last start over the Sandown mile, in his first year of racing down Under.
“He has just taken us some working out, and I think we got what works with him now,” Eustace said. “He is a miler that needs a good track with a good gap between his runs.
“We tried to stretch him out but, as you can see, his wins have been at the mile and 1800m.
“That freshness allows him to be to run out a solid mile and that’s what he will do on Saturday.
“It is just good to get back on a good track, and I think you will find that there will be horses that improve a lot with the better tracks.”
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