independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Smullen excited by Eagle

Jockey Pat Smullen

Leading Irish pilot Pat Smullen admits it is a long time since he has been as excited about a horse as recent winner Free Eagle.

The Dermot Weld-trained juvenile is already favourite for next year's Investec Derby after a scintillating display at Leopardstown which saw him come home five and a half lengths clear of his nearest rival.

A half-brother to Weld's Sapphire, who won on Champions Day at Ascot last year, the son of High Chaparral looks to have a huge future.

"He's a lovely horse. I don't get too bullish about them normally because that's not my style but this lad has been exciting us all year," Smullen told At The Races.

"We were really looking forward to him making his debut and he was as impressive as we hoped he would be. You'd have to be taken by his manner of victory.

"We're very excited about his future but he'll need to develop, I was surprised the other day how immature he looked in the paddock compared to the others.

"It will be softly-softly, that's always been the boss' style so it won't change for this one and I'd imagine he'll have one more run (this season).

"We'll then put him away and he's certainly something that will shorten the winter for us. I'm just glad we have him."

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