Jockey Dwayne Dunn is unsure if the famous Straight-Six track at Flemington is right for Under The Louvre but regardless is looking forward to continuing his association on the sprinter in the 2016 Bobbie Lewis Quality on Saturday.
A final field of 12 sprinters take to the Flemington track on Makybe Diva Stakes Day this weekend in the $200,000 Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m), including the Robert Smerdon-trained top weight Under The Louvre (59kg).
Best known for his Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) success at the roomy Eagle Farm track in Brisbane back on June 11, the Excellent Art stallion comes into Saturday’s race second-up.
His resuming run produced a second to Redzel at Caulfield on August 27 in the Group 3 The Heath 1100 (1100m) when Nicholas Hall had the ride.
Dunn, aboard the stallion for his Stradbroke win as well as the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) second in Adelaide the run before behind Black Heart Bart, returns to the saddle second-up.
Under The Louvre has a stellar second-up record (5-2-2-1), but his previous form at Flemington doesn’t read quite as well.
From seven starts he has had just the one win, and he is yet to perform with a win down the straight.
Still, Dunn believes he is better weighted in Saturday’s quality handicap conditions and even from the wide barrier (10), is a livewire hope.
“He ran super [first-up],” Dunn told Racing Victoria.
“He gets back up in the weights a bit [on Saturday].
“I’m not sure the straight suits him with his powerful finish, if they hold up and all sprint the same, it leaves him a bit flat-footed.
“If they do roll along quick enough, he’ll have that turn of foot.
“I’ve had a great association with him, and I look forward to continuing it.”
The current Bobbie Lewis Quality betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au confirm Dunn’s thoughts and have Under The Louvre as the close $4.60 second elect.
Early favourite at $4.20 is the New Zealand visitor Xtravagant ($4.20).
A dual Group 1 winner back home, the Pentire stallion is prepared by Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards and runs first-up on Saturday from barrier seven with Damien Oliver in the saddle.
Xtravagant is out to atone for his only other Australian start to date when unplaced for an eighth to Palentino in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 5 as a three-year-old.
The horse with a far better straight-track record that represents value in the Bobbie Lewis Quality odds meanwhile is the locally hope, the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Durendal ($19).
The Medaglia D’Oro gelding has won six of his nine starts over the distance (9-6-0-2) and is a dual winner from three starts over 1200m at Flemington.
His latest win at his home track was on New Year’s Day in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m); Saturday is first start since a close fourth when under a length off the winner in the Listed Straight Six (1200m) from the winter.
“He just had the one run in the winter to tick him over,” co-trainer Zahra said of Durendal heading into Saturday’s showdown fresh.
“He should improve a fair bit off it – he’s still a touch tubby.
“It looks a nice, strong race, but the horse loves the straight.
“We haven’t got him fully wound up, but he’s fresh and his straight form’s pretty good.”
Back your favourites across the Flemington race card on Saturday at the right price through Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).