Eric The Eel to wear blinkers at Doomben

By: Mark Oberhardt Thursday 27 February 202

Eric The Eel will wear blinkers for the first time when he races at Doomben as a final trial for a trip to Sydney.

Eric The Eel steps up to 1600m in the Pines Pacific Ale Plate at Doomben on Saturday and if he races well he will head to Sydney for races such as the Group One Rosehill Guineas and Group One Australian Derby.

The gelding ran well in an unofficial trial when second to star three-year-old Alligator Blood before resuming with a sixth at Eagle Farm over 1200m last Saturday week.

Trainer Stuart Kendrick was happy with the comeback run but is looking for further improvement.

"He had barrier 15 and he had no choice but to go back to near last at Eagle Farm. He finished well along the fence to be in a four-way photo finish for third," Kendrick said.

"But he would need to take another step to head to Sydney.

"The blinkers at this stage of his career should switch him on."

Eric The Eel is named for swimmer Eric Moussambani Malonga, the slowest Olympic 100m-heat winner in history.

The gelding belies that but needs to do more to justify taking on the better horses in Sydney.

James Orman will ride Eric The Eel but will miss the mount on the stable's other talented three-year-old Jagged Edge in the The Jewel Prelude on Saturday because of a booking misunderstanding.

Orman rode Jagged Edge when he was second at Eagle Farm but had been expected to ride Gem of Scotland who was not among the acceptors.

"It was a genuine mix-up but by the time we all realised I had booked Brad Stewart for Jagged Edge," Kendrick said.