Eugene’s Forest is proving to be a stable star for Greg Eurell providing the trainer and Eugene’s owners with a hat-trick at Ballarat. Like all successes there’s generally a story behind them and this is no different although this story covers 13 months of patience, faith and knowing a good thing when you see it.
Tom Coen sent a promising mare, Stoke, to be trained by Greg. Unfortunately during her career she sustained an injury sending her into an early retirement but as it turns out a pretty handy broodmare. Successfully covered in her second breeding year by the now retired, Reset, who was often introduced as “the horse to get you to the big days” which Greg had experienced first hand in Pinker Pinkers’ Cox Plate win, her first foal by Reset was a handsome big fella who was snapped up by Greg for another stable client at Inglis Premier in 2016, he was named Deseronto and has won a race. Stoke was sent back to Reset after her first cracking colt and she foaled the next season an unassuming bay colt which the Coens decided they had to keep themselves as he didn’t look to have the impressive good looks of his sibling.
Eugene’s unusual name stems from his breeders neighbour who has a beautiful garden that is known to the neighbourhood as “Eugene’s Forest”
As a yearling, Eugene was off for a general check up with Well-known Equine Vet Stacy McGregor in Euroa, all went well until the trip home. Eugene, as far as all involved could describe, had a reaction to the sedation that sent him into what could be defined as a wild yearling tantrum. He destroyed the float, smashed, ruined beyond repair. In doing so caused himself quite the mischief damaging his hind legs rather severely. This would later come back to haunt him and after showing lots of promise in his 3yo preparation he ended up sore and was given a very dim prognosis to race again and to have any chance he required surgery on his hind leg as he was suffering from the damage caused in his floating incident which had been aggravated during training.
An owner’s love for their horse is something else but a home-bred is a whole other level of emotion. Tom had the patience and faith that he was worth trying to rehabilitate so a visit to top Equine surgeon Dr Stuart Vallance was arranged. The surgery whilst deemed successful was not without complications and Dr Vallance was very cautious about his prognosis for racing again.
Eugene spent time rehabbing on the water walker at Monomeith Farm before some time with Francesca Christie at CRC Equine where horses go through pre-training combined with dressage work, akin to sending an AFL player to ballet lessons to improve their footwork.
It was these steps that put Eugene ahead of the game.
Dani Eurell rides Eugene in work, “He is one smart horse, only doing what is asked of him, never over-exerts himself he saves it all for race day! Gentle and smart but like most race horses he has his quirks, he loves having other horses around him. Stable mates or any random mate on the track, if there’s no one around he’ll be calling out for a friend (any friend) the entire time.
Sandown 11th March “Eugene’s Forest getting close on the inside!” – D. Thornton
Geelong 24th March “It’s all Eugene at the 150m by 3 lengths!” – D. Thornton
Ballarat 10th May “Eugene still travelling on the bridle at 300m!” – J. McNeil