After suffering his first defeat of 2011 in the Rough Habit Plate at Doomben Chateau Fort is expected to bounce back strongly in this weekend’s Grand Prix Stakes.
He ran third a couple of lengths away from the winner Fillydelphia but trainer Paul Messara believes if he can find a bit more luck he’ll be a strong contender.
“Everything’s been pretty much spot on, his work has been solid,” he said.
“We’re hoping to get a better run in transit and finish off a bit better.”
Chateau Fort has a super impressive record over his relatively short career so Messara knows there’s still plenty of improvement in him.
“He’s a very inexperienced horse, I thought it was a good effort to run third,” he said.
He’s also not going to use the Brisbane trip as an excuse and feels he should run as good here as he does anywhere else.
“He’s thriving since he’s got up to Queensland, he’s got stronger with each run,” he said.
“We lack a bit of experience, but we’re on the way up and improving.”
After this race all things going to plan we’ll see Chateau Fort run in the Queensland Derby.
That will be his biggest test to date and Messara is in no doubt as to which horse is the current benchmark.
“I think Graeme Rogerson’s horse Shoot Off is the one to beat,” he said.
Given Shoot Off has proven himself as a worthy contender against open class horses at Group 1 level a lot rides on the performance of Chateau Fort in the Grand Prix Stakes.
He ran wide without cover in the Rough Habit so if he can find a better run there’s every chance he can pick up the required few lengths at the end.
“I’m hoping to slot in somewhere, we’ll try and slip him in somewhere and put him to sleep,” he said.
“Most of the other chances have drawn outside us.”
Messara is also set to have representation in the feature race of the carnival with two horses on track to the Stradbroke Handicap.
Alverta couldn’t maintain her early pace in her first up race in Brisbane last weekend but Messara isn’t overly concerned.
“She never travels the best up here and sometime stakes a while to settle in,” he said.
She’s still destined for a return to Group 1 level in June though but there’s no guarantees she’ll be joined by stable mate Albert The Fat.
“He’s still a little bit stiff and sore, probably a 50/50 chance of making the Stradbroke,” he said.
“All things going well he’ll trial next weekend into the Stradbroke.”
Albert The Fat took a knock in the barriers before the BTC Cup but was still allowed to run.
He struggled after the event and it’s now a race against time to get him back on track.
“He came back in great order, everything was spot on until then,” he said.