By Glenn Davis
Trainer Darryl Hansen has warned against comparing Monsieur Gustave’s summer failures last year to his current campaign and a second tilt at The Buffering Plate at Doomben on Saturday.
Monsieur Gustave is on the same path as last summer and is aiming for the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast next month.
The six-year-old looked set for a big summer 12 months ago after winning the Listed Keith Noud and Group 3 George Moore Stakes at Doomben before running well below his best in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes and The Buffering.
His two summer sprint wins followed a brilliant winter carnival carnival in which he claimed two Stakes races in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich and Listed The Glasshouse Handicap on his home track at the Sunshine Coast.
Hansen celebrated his biggest thrill in racing when Le Chef won the Magic Millions Classic in 2015.
Monsieur Gustave was short of a run when he ran seventh in his comeback this campaign in the George Moore Stakes before returning to his best with a gutsy win on a rain-soaked Sunshine Coast track last start.
Hansen believes Monsieur Gustave is back to his best ever form and expects him to be hard to beat in The Buffering.
“His last win at Caloundra was very tough under a big weight and on a heavy track,” Hansen said.
“He led but they never gave him any peace up front.
“Going to 1350 metres won’t be a drama and he’s pretty close to his best ever form.”
Hansen said Monsieur Gustave suffered from “soft shins” which restricted the number of runs he could have each campaign.
“He was a bit shin sore when he ran in the Lough Neagh and The Buffering last year after he took out the George Moore,” he said.
“We normally get about four or five runs out of him each campaign but last year his shin soreness hit him a bit earlier than normal.”
Hansen also will be represented by Pennino in the Group 3 Vo Rogue Plate but will wait for next week’s Gold Coast meeting with Magic Millions Classic hopeful Boomstress who will miss the Group 3 Bruce McLachlan Stakes.
“Boomstress has drawn awkwardly (nine) so I’m taking the punt and hope to get a better draw at the Gold Coast next week,” Hansen said.
“She’ll need to win or perhaps run second next week to get into the Magic Millions Classic as she’s 21st in the ballot order.”
Hansen was delighted with Pennino’s last start third to Zoustyle in the Listed Gold Edition Plate at Doomben on December 15.
Pennino is being aimed for the Magic Millions Fillies & Mares race at the Gold Coast on January 12.
Racing Queensland webnews December 27