Ego’s top ranking
Exalted firms to Cup favouritism
JIM Smith, trainer of Adelaide Cup favourite Exalted Ego, can’t hide his surprise at how things have transpired in the past month.
The Morphettville conditioner, who won the Adelaide Cup two years ago with Exalted Time, only started to contemplate a Cup start for Exalted Ego at the beginning of February.
Honestly, if you’d have told me more than a month ago that Exalted Ego would be in a two mile race I would’ve laughed at you,’’ Smith said.
But he’s just done a really good job.’’ Exalted Ego earned favouritism for Monday’s 3200m Group Two event with a comprehensive win in the Group Three Lord Reims Stakes a fortnight ago, defeating Saddler’s Story and Road To Athens.
Even that win, over 2600m, surprised Smith.
He did a bit of work, sat up on the speed and then went to the front,’’ he said.
I thought he was going to knock up and run last but he just kept on going.
He’s definitely surprised me, he’s suprised everyone really.’’
Only 12 months ago the gelding was competitive in 1200m stakes races in South Australia, and he won the Listed Adelaide Stakes (1600m) last March.
The turning point, in Smith’s eyes, was when Exalted Ego won the Listed Birthday Cup (1800m) early last month with 59kg.
Then at his next start in the Port Adelaide Cup (2250m) he had 60.5kg, he drew barrier 16, didn’t have any luck at all but still stuck to his guns,’’ he said.
He was four and five wide down the side then he came around them and was only beaten less than four lengths so it was not a bad run that day.’’
Matthew Neilson will be back aboard the gelding in Monday’s Cup after missing the ride last start with illness.
Smith said the runner-up from the Lord Reims Stakes is the biggest danger.
He (Saddler’s Story) drops 2kg and he stuck to his task pretty well last start so he’s going to be up there,’’ Smith said.
Exalted Ego’s only other try over 2400m or more was in the 2006 Group Two Sandown Classic in Melbourne.
On that occasion he finished ninth, beaten nearly four lengths by Gallant Guru.
There’s no doubt these days he’s more mature. He’s settled down a lot more and is much more relaxed.’’
Improver . . . Exalted Ego (Matthew Neilson) has firmed to Adelaide Cup favourite