Bel Esprit Stakes 2016: Under The Louvre to resume at Caulfield

Group One sprints in two states are on the agenda for Under The Louvre, who begins his latest campaign in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes.

The Robert Smerdon-trained Under The Louvre is set to make his return in Saturday’s Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield having been kept back from the main autumn carnival action in Melbourne and Sydney.

Under The Louvre placed three times at Group One level last year without breaking through for an elite level victory.

Smerdon plans to send Under The Louvre to Adelaide for another shot at the Group One Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville next month before heading to Brisbane where the Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) will be the aim.

“We didn’t press for the early autumn so we could give him a reasonable break after the spring,” Smerdon said.

“He’s had a good build-up. He’s very forward.”

Under The Louvre was third in last year’s The Goodwood.

He also finished second to Shamal Wind in the 2015 Group One Oakleigh Plate, while during a six-run spring campaign last year he was a close third to Stratum Star and Disposition in the Sir Rupert Clark Stakes at the elite level.

“Hopefully his turn will come,” Smerdon said.

Mark Zahra, who has ridden Under The Louvre in six of his past nine starts, has the ride on Saturday when Under The Louvre will be chasing his first victory in over a year.

Smerdon believes all the signs suggest the horse has come back well.

Under The Louvre’s build-up has included three barrier trials and he has topweight of 60kg for Saturday’s race which has attracted 29 nominations.

Smerdon said there was also an option of running in the Group One Doomben 10,000 (1350m) in Brisbane before the Stradbroke, but that would depend on transport arrangements because it is a week after The Goodwood.


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