Not only is Eminent probably the least expensive son of Frankel to go through a sales ring but, confounding expert expectation, he became the highest profile of his first crop when he ran out an impressive winner of the bet365 Craven Stakes, a dress rehearsal for the 2,000 Guineas, at Newmarket on Thursday.
The big imposing colt was picked out by his trainer Martyn Meade’s son-in-law Dermot Farrington for a snip at 150,000 guineas as a yearling – the cost of a visit to Frankel is £125,000 alone – for New Zealand owner Sir Peter Vela.
The majority verdict was that he was too big and gangly. But he is now as short as 8-1 to win the Guineas and give Frankel a Classic winner with his first crop of three-year-olds.
The colt caught the eye in the paddock beforehand and, unlike a lot of Frankel's offspring who can be keen, he was not laden with gadgets to stop him and he settled beautifully. In the dip he was engaged in a four way tussle with Rivet, Benbatl and Larchmont Lad but as soon as he hit the rising ground he started to assert his authority beating Rivet a length and three quarters.
It was a trait of Frankel that he took a while to pull up and Jim Crowley was almost at Bury St Edmunds before stopping. Though he will get a lot further and already needs every yard of mile, which might make him vulnerable to a high class specialist miler, Guineas winners do need to stay.
“The way he hit the dip I knew he wouldn’t stop,” said Meade. “At home he lollops away and you don’t know how fast he’s going. He doesn’t look fast. We could have gone a mile and one in the Feilden (Stakes) but we said ‘let’s find out if he’s fast enough for a mile’ and he’s proved it against group horses.”
He added: “I don’t have to say anything about his temperament. He needs entertaining and if you entertain him he’s fine. He was primed but not 100 per cent today as it was a trial.”
Crowley, who is optimistic he will be available for the 2,000 Guineas, said: “He was the best two-year-old I rode last year. He was first out of the stalls and I was able to take him back and get a tow. He only hit top gear approaching the line and the quicker they go the better.”