Lough Neagh Next Summer Crown Step for Monsieur Gustave

Last-start George Moore Stakes winner Monsieur Gustave is out to be just one win away from the $400,000 Brisbane Summer Crown bonus with a victory in Saturday’s 2017 Lough Neagh Stakes at Doomben.

Darryl Hansen

Sunshine Coast trainer Darryl Hansen is confident going into Saturday’s Lough Neagh Stakes with last start George Moore Stakes winner Monsieur Gustave. Photo: Daniel Costello.

The flying Al Maher gelding has won his past four starts on the trot going back to the winter and is one of 13 sprinters set to face off in the Listed $150,000 Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) on the weekend.

Winner of the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) – Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) double back in June – July, Monsieur Gustave had been a revelation again this campaign for the Sunshine Coast-based Darryl Hansen.

First-up the gelding won the rescheduled Listed Keith Noud Quality (1200m) by three lengths at Ipswich on November 22 with apprentice Tiffani Brooker in the saddle.

Monsieur Gustave was again ridden to victory by Brooker in the Group 3 $200,000 George Moore Stakes (1200m) on December 2 at Doomben Racecourse where he returns this weekend.

The George Moore Stakes gave Monsieur Gustave a one-nil advantage in the five-race Summer Crown series and he needs to win two more events in the series to secure the lucrative bonus.

Saturday’s Lough Neagh Stakes gives him the chance to make it two-nil and Brooker retains the ride from barrier nine on 59.5kg.

It has been an incredible ride for Hansen with the sprint star who has already won over $500,000 in career prize money from 17 starts despite showing “nothing special” early on.

“He was lightly framed when I first got him and did nothing special in track work,” Hansen told Racing Queensland.

“He was also a box walker and couldn’t keep his condition but when I gave him a jump out over 1000 metres on the cushion track one day, he ran away from them and looked like he might be something special.”

It was an old bush trick picked-up from his father Roy that Hansen used to get the best out of Monsieur Gustave who is now rewarding his trainer’s patience and perseverance.

“I hobbled his fetlocks and he spent the first nine weeks with me like that until he learnt not to box walk,” Hansen explained.

“Dad used to do it a lot with box walkers when he was breaking in horses on stations in western Queensland – it’s an old bush trick.”

Hansen is full of confidence going into Saturday’s race with Monsieur Gustave having pulled through his Group 3 win at the start of the month in excellent fashion.

“He’s kept his condition well and hasn’t missed a beat,” he said.

The horse has a gun record of five wins, a second and a third from 10 previous starts at the 1350m – 1400m and that is another plus going into the weekend according to Hansen.

“He’s stepping up in distance but that’s to his favour as he’s better over 1400 metres than 1200 metres,” he said.

“He goes up in weight to 59.5 kilos and has barrier nine but he’s used to carrying big weights so it’s not a great concern.

“He’ll be there at the finish.”

The Summer Sprint Series concludes on January 13 at the Gold Coast on Magic Millions Day and Monsieur Gustave is expected to round out his prep in the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) that day.

To get behind Monsieur Gustave this weekend and beyond at the best summer racing odds online visit Ladbrokes.com.au.

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