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Robert Smerdon’s reigning Stradbroke Handicap winner Under The Louvre will chase a final Group 1 victory when he runs in his career swansong in Brisbane on Saturday in the Kingsford Smith Cup 2017.
The $1.8 million earning Excellent Art six-year-old is set to head to stud at Grandview Stud in Queensland Queensland following his 36th and final run in the new-look $700,000 Group 1 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) – formerly the BTC Cup – at Eagle Farm Racecourse this weekend.
It has been a year since Under The Louvre posted his last victory, winning the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at the Eagle Farm track.
That followed a brave second to Black Heart Bart in Adelaide’s Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) and remains his sole Eagle Farm start ahead of his return to the track for the Kingsford Smith Cup.
Under The Louvre has had just the one run this year after he spent an extended time on the sidelines following his dead last (11th) to Lucky Hussler at Sandown-Hillside last November in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m).
First-up on May 6 at Flemington he ran over six lengths away 12th to the winner Crystal Dreamer over 1000m down the straight carting 62kg.
Saturday sees Under The Louvre drop back to 59kg at weight-for-age and the step-up in distance should suit as the horse looks to add to his smart second-up record that currently stands at two wins, two seconds and a third from six runs.
Smerdon is confident he has the horse in peak fitness, but is worried about the chances of hitting a Heavy-rated Eagle Farm track as Under The Louvre has never run on a mud course.
“He’s very good in himself,” Smerdon told Racing Victoria this week.
“He’s as fit as he needs to be but if it comes up like a Heavy track, he’s never been a real Heavy-track horse, so that’s an issue.
“Obviously, it’s a big step to go there on Saturday but we’re committed to running there Saturday and then he’s got a stud career on the other side of that.
“He’s been a terrific horse for the stable, he’s won almost $2m and he’s a Group 1 winner so those horses are terribly hard to replace and he’s a bit of a character so it’s sad to see him go but they don’t last forever.”
It is shaping-up as a tough edition of the Kingsford-Smith Cup with the likes of The Goodwood winner Vega Magic and BRC Sprint champ from last weekend Jungle Edge expected to back-up.
For all the best Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival odds, Kingsford-Smith Cup betting markets and more this season head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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