Under The Louvre resumes in Bel Esprit Stakes, has 2 state G1 targets in sight

By: Mark Mazzaglia
April 20th, 2016

The Robert Smerdon trained Under The Louvre resumes at Caulfield on Saturday in the Listed $120,000 Sheen Group Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield before launching into a two state Group 1 campaign.

Under The Louvre resumes in the Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield. Photo by Adrienne Bicknell.

Under The Louvre resumes in the Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield. Photo by Adrienne Bicknell.

Smerdon deliberately decided to bypass the rich Melbourne and Sydney Autumn Carnivals and Under The Louvre will be having his first run since finishing forth to Famous Seamus in the Group 3 $150,000 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown at the end of the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.

After Saturday, the Caulfield trainer will give Under The Louvre another shot at the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 21 after finishing third to Flamberge last year and then head to Brisbane for the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.

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

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

As well as running third in the 2015 Goodwood, Under The Louvre has also been placed another two times at Group 1 level with a second to Shamal Wind in the 2015 Group 1 $400,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield during the Autumn then in the Spring he finished third behind Stratum Star and Disposition in the Group 1 $400,000 Anthea Crawford Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Smerdon is looking forward to a successful late Autumn and Winter campaign and is hoping Under The Louvre can break through for a Group 1 win along the way.

“Hopefully his turn will come,” Smerdon said.

Under The Louvre has been lumped with 60kg for his return in the Bel Esprit Stakes and looks like he has the job ahead after drawing barrier thirteen in the final field of fourteen plus four emergencies.

Two of the emergencies, We’ve Got This and Nozomi, have drawn inside of him and if they fail to gain a start, Under The Louvre will jump from gate eleven with Mark Zahra to ride.

Smerdon has given Under The Louvre two barrier trials in preparation for his return and the five year finished third on both occasions over 1000m at Moe on March 21 then over 990m at Cranbourne on April 11.

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