The Robert Smerdon-trained Under The Louvre has been allocated the 60kg top weight for the feature race in Melbourne this weekend, the Bel Esprit Stakes 2016 running at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday.
On Tuesday the handicaps for all 29 nominees entered for this year’s $120,000 Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) were released by Racing Victoria, the returning Excellent Art stallion Under The Louvre giving the kilos away if accepted to run.
The five-year-old hasn’t raced since mid-November last year when fourth to Famous Seamus in Sandown’s Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m).
His best result from the spring was a third to Stratum Star in Caulfield’s Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), which was his third Group 1 placing from as many elite level assignments.
Under The Louvre’s first Group 1 start produced a second to Shamal Wind in last year’s Oakleigh Plate (1100m) before his The Goodwood (1200m) third in Adelaide last May.
The horse has a solid first-up record of two wins and a second from five starts, and has trialled twice this season ahead of his possible Bel Esprit Stakes return.
If he runs it will be his first start with 60kg on his back since his third at Geelong in March of 2014 at just his sixth career start.
Following Under The Louvre in the Bel Esprit Stakes weights this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival is the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained That’s A Good Idea (59kg).
A six-year-old son of Flying Spur, the galloper is yet to race at Caulfield and has twice trialled this autumn in Sydney including a last start second over 1050m at Randwick on April 8.
His last official start was in December at the same track when eighth to Cradle Me in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) carrying 59.5kg, That’s A Good Idea having had just one Melbourne run to date when seventh at Flemington in Group 2 class in November of 2014.
Only three other Bel Esprit Stakes entries are weighted above the 54kg minimum this year with Lee & Shannon Hope’s four-year-old Street Cry mare Pittsburgh Flyer (55.5kg), Magic Millions Sprint winner from the Gold Coast in January Husson Eagle (54.5kg) and the Darren Weir-trained Mirage (54.5kg).
Pittsburgh Flyer won the Group 3 G.H. Mumm Stakes (1100m) in the mud at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival last November, before returning for a nice fourth beaten under a length by Flamberge in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on February 27.
Her last start produced a disappointing 12th over the same distance at Rosehill behind Griante in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) on March 19.
Of the light weights some of the most notable Bel Esprit Stakes entries include Summer Scorcher winner Sheidel now prepared by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig who is also nominated for the Group 3 RN Irwin Stakes in Adelaide on Saturday and Scott Brunton’s black-type winning Tasmanian raider Hellova Street.
Stay tuned for the Bel Esprit Stakes 2016 field and barriers released on Wednesday.
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2016 Bel Esprit Stakes Weights
Caulfield Racecourse – 23/04/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||23x523264x||UNDER THE LOUVRE||H||5||Robert Smerdon||1||60kg||105|
|2||0x12x3268x||THAT’S A GOOD IDEA||G||6||Peter & Paul Snowden||2||59kg||103|
|3||787x461x40||PITTSBURGH FLYER||M||4||Lee & Shannon Hope||3||55.5kg||100|
|4||1x24111x34||SHEIDEL||M||4||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||4||54kg||97|
|5||113135x11x||HELLOVA STREET||G||5||Scott Brunton||5||56kg||97|
|6||7820x8800x||GIRL GUIDE||M||6||Ciaron Maher||6||54kg||95|
|7||35×0594307||IT IS WRITTEN||G||7||Robbie Griffiths||7||55kg||95|
|9||1418×53103||HUSSON EAGLE||G||4||Patrick Payne||9||54.5kg||94|
|11||x61603100x||OUR NKWAZI||G||9||Shawn Mathrick||11||54kg||92|
|13||1921722512||BEAU RADA||G||4||John McArdle||13||54kg||91|
|14||1143x3860x||JAVA||G||4||Lee & Anthony Freedman||14||54kg||90|
|16||321016×240||EXCLUSIVE LASS||M||4||Nigel Blackiston||16||54kg||88|
|17||8x2152911x||WE’VE GOT THIS||G||4||Greg Eurell||17||54kg||87|
|18||48x653113x||NOZOMI||G||4||Lee & Anthony Freedman||18||54kg||86|
|20||x6712x1152||ONEROUS||G||4||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||20||54kg||85|
|23||x12142635x||PILLY’S WISH||M||5||Mick Price||23||54kg||81|
|24||5×16161711||SOLAR DUCHESS||M||5||Robbie Griffiths||24||54kg||80|
|25||2448×72353||PRETTY POSSUM||M||6||Russell Osborne||25||54kg||80|
|26||210×02661||WELL SPRUNG||C||3||Lyn Tolson & Leonie Proctor||26||54kg||77|
|28||68626×2212||GOOD OFFA||G||4||Byron Cozamanis||28||54kg||68|
|29||07×0166372||BIG BUDDIE||G||7||Andrew Sawden||29||54kg||63|