Woodbine Mile: Emmaus ‘Always Shows Up’ For Murphy

Will the third straight time at Woodbine be the charm for Emmaus?

Trained by Conor Murphy, five-year-old Emmaus, a son of Invincible Spirit, will make his third consecutive start at the Toronto oval, when he goes postward in next Saturday’s Grade 1 $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

The Kilcarn Stud-bred dark bay finished second, a neck back of winner El Tormenta, in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup on June 1 at Woodbine.

On June 29, Emmaus finished fourth to Synchrony in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes.

For Murphy, it was a tale of two races – one good, the other not.

“In the Connaught, he ran a very good race. Seven furlongs is probably just a bit short for him. He was rushed off his feet that day, and ran a big race… just got beat. I always thought he’d be a better horse going a mile. With the King Edward, I think the Connaught lit him up a bit, and not in a good way. For me, he did everything wrong. He was revved up in the paddock, he got out of the gate and he was very keen. He was doing too much early on, yet he was only beaten two lengths.”

Emmaus contested his first eight races in Europe, including a win in his career bow Leicester in September 2016. Last April, again at Leicester, the Irish-bred took the King Richard III Stakes, notching a two-length score in the seven-furlong event raced over heavy ground.

His first North American test came in this April’s Elusive Quality Stakes at Belmont, where he finished second to Therapist, missing out on top spot by a neck.

Murphy is hoping the weather forecast calls for some rain in the lead-up to next Saturday’s fall turf classic.

“We gave him a little break after the King Edward, and I do think he’s back in the right frame of mind. The track is ideal for him (at Woodbine). I would like to see a bit of rain. He doesn’t need soft ground, but I don’t think he enjoys really firm turf.”

Emmaus’ lowest finish to date was a 10th in the Group 2 Qatar Lennox Stakes last July at Goodwood. Although winless since the King Richard III triumph, the M and J Thoroughbreds LLC and Riverside Bloodstock LLC (co-owned by Murphy and his Irish-born, Louisville-based partner Justin Curran), colour bearer is in fine fettle ahead of the Mile.

“I’m very happy,” said Murphy. “Mentally, he’s in a very good place. He’s never been a real flashy work horse… he just does what you ask him. I’m looking forward to next week. He always shows up, so that’s a big plus. And he has a very classy temperament. There is nothing bad I can say about him.”

Emmaus will be partnered with Jamie Spencer for the Mile. Five years ago, Spencer teamed with Trade Storm to win the race. The veteran rider has enjoyed other successes at Woodbine, including taking two editions of the Northern Dancer aboard Wigmore Hall (2011-2012).

The post Woodbine Mile: Emmaus ‘Always Shows Up’ For Murphy appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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