Highly-rated imported stayer Kesampour has not impressed since arriving in Australia but trainer Peter Moody expects to see a much-improved horse when the four-year-old contests the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The King’s Best entire made his Australian racing debut in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on August 31 and was ridden close to the pace but faded in the final 200 metres to finish seventh, more than five lengths behind the winner Ibicenco.
Moody said that he wasn’t overly disappointed with the performance and believes the French import took plenty of improvement out of the run, which has been evident in his trackwork in the last week.
“He loomed to win that run and he’s taken good physical benefit from it,” Moody told AAP.
“I saw the improvement in him in his work today that I’ve been hoping to see for a couple of months.
“He’s getting closer all the time.”
While the Naturalism Stakes is set to draw a quality field, with a number of stayers chasing ballot-free entry into the Caulfield Cup, Moody believes that Kesampour will be very difficult to beat if he can replicate his top European form.
When prepared by Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Mikel Delzangles, Kesampour won the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe (2000m) and was competitive at Group 1 level in the Prix Du Jockey Club (2100m) and Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (2400m) – finishing close to Melbourne Cup hopeful Sea Moon who Moody clearly has a high opinion of.
“He finished close up behind Sea Moon in the Arc, so you’d think that form would give him a chance in a Group Three race,” Moody said.
“And Sea Moon is the greatest horse ever to be imported to Australia, bar none.”
Moody will also have Ibicenco in the Naturalism Stakes field at Caulfield on Saturday, with both horses chasing direct entry into the Caulfield Cup.
Both horses have been allocated 52.5kg for the Caulfield Cup but Kesampour (73rd on the order of entry) still needs to pass the first elimination ballot clause for the race.