Trainer John Hyam is happy with Esprit De Bullet heading into the 2014 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday and is hopeful that the veteran gelding can bounce back from his poor performance in the Listed W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on February 1.
Esprit De Bullet was positioned at the back of the field by Vlad Duric in the early stages of the race, following his usual racing pattern, but was unable to make ground late and could only beat home well-backed favourite Lord Of The Sky.
Hyam admits that he was disappointed with the performance of Esprit De Bullet, but told AAP that he believes the son of Bel Esprit had plenty of excuses and would be better suited when he returns to Flemington for the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes this weekend.
“Vlad said he had half run his race behind the gates and said he probably didn’t handle the track that well either,” Hyam said.
“We’re happy to get him back down the straight at Flemington because his last win was pretty good there.
“I can’t really fault the horse and I think he deserves a crack at a race like that.
“There’s nothing in Adelaide for him for about six weeks.
“So we will try and see how we go.”
Esprit De Bullet has performed well since starting his preparation in spring last year, picking up wins in the City Jeep Compass Handicap (1000m) and the Red Tempo Handicap (1000m) and has earned a maiden tilt at Group 1 level.
The eight-year-old has failed to fire in three starts in Group 3 events, finishing seventh in the 2011 Standish Handicap (1200m), 9th in the McKay Stakes (1100m) and 12th in the Irwin Stakes (1100m), and was narrowly denied a maiden win at Listed level when he finished second behind Planet Voyage in the Manihi Classic (1000m) at Morphettville Parks in May last year.
Esprit De Bullet will need to be at his very best to be competitive in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes; with Group 1 winners Samaready, Streama and Shamexpress as well as the talented Aeronautical, Snitzerland and Bernabeu all included in the nominations for the Group 1 event, while classy juveniles Boomwaa and Bugatty are both a chance to compete in the $500,000 race with just 46 kilograms on their back.