Pakenham Cup winner Pilote D’Essai will be set for the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington during the 2017 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
The Lindsay Park trained Pilote D’Essai was dominant in winning the Listed $200,000 Superior Food Services Pakenham Cup (2500m) at Pakenham last Saturday and made it two successive Victorian Cup wins after the five year old led all of the way to win the Listed $300,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m) at Ballarat a fortnight earlier.
Co-trainer David Hayes, who trained in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, said that the step up in distance beyond 2000m has been the key to finding the French imports winning form.
“I really feel we’ve found the key – it’s 2000m and beyond,” Hayes said.
“He’s a bloody nice horse. It was pretty impressive today, wasn’t it?”
“He’ll be a very reliable horse 2000m and beyond. Probably in the spring, we were running him a bit short. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing.”
“We can give him a month in the water walker and the paddock now, and set him for the Australian Cup and Peter Young (Stakes).”
Apprentice Regan Bayliss has been in the saddle for both of Pilote D’Essai’s Cup wins and he tried to repeat his front running tactics in the Pakenham Cup after the five year old burst out of the barriers to easily gain a clear lead running out of the straight the first time.
But after Bayliss slowed the tempo along the back of the track, Stephen Baster let the hard pulling Puccini circle the field at the 1200m and take up the running with Katelyn Mallyon on Little White Cloud also moving up outside of Pilote D’Essai which ended up giving the imported stayer a perfect trail in the box seat in the run to the home turn.
When heads were turned for home Bayliss let Pilote D’Essai ($5) take the run inside of Puccini ($9) and quickly skipped away to record a two and a quarter lengths win with Little White Cloud (3.70 favourite) holding onto third position a further one and three quarter lengths away.
The well fancied Aaron Purcell trained Swacadelic ($4) was given a beautiful run by Craig Williams just off the pace but faded in the straight to finish a distance last and was reported to have pulled up lame in his near side front as well as with atrial fibrillation.