By Glenn Davis
Trainer Darryl Hansen has declared Monsieur Gustave back to his best ahead of the sprinter’s bid for the $1 million Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast next month.
Monsieur Gustave will have his second start following an injury setback last winter when he lines up in the Efex Noosa Cup (1200m) at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.
The track is currently in the soft range after Caloundra missed the predicted rain deluge on Friday night.
The Noosa Cup is a qualifying race for the Magic Millions Country Cup at the Gold Coast on January 12.
The six-year-old won two Stakes races in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich and Listed Glasshouse Handicap at the Sunshine Coast in 2017 then returned from a break to claim the Listed Keith Noud and Group 3 George Moore Stakes last summer.
Hansen had big winter plans mapped out this year for Monsieur Gustave before he was injured when he failed in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith at Doomben in May.
“I was getting him ready for the Stradbroke but he pulled a muscle in the Kingsford Smith which ended his winter,” Hansen said.
Monsieur Gustave failed to flatter in his return this summer when he beat one horse home in the George Moore Stakes at Doomben on December 1.
“It was a good run considering he just wasn’t fit enough and knocked up as expected,” Hansen said.
“I was hoping to run him in the Lough Neagh Stakes today but he’s still not quite fit enough for 1350 metres so I’ve deliberately kept him to 1200 metres.”
Apprentice Corey Bayliss has been booked to ride Monsieur Gustave in the Magic Millions Country Cup qualifier in which he has a massive 64.5kgs.
“It’s a massive weight but we expected that with his rating,” Hansen said.
“Thankfully, it’s a metropolitan meeting so Corey’s three kilo claim is going to help a lot.”
Under the conditions of the race, Monsieur Gustave is ineligible to run in the Magic Millions Country Cup (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 12.
“Unfortunately, he’s not eligible for the Country Cup on Magic Millions day but he was always going to be aimed at the Magic Millions Cup,” he said.
Hansen celebrated his biggest thrill in racing when Le Chef won the Magic Millions Classic in 2015.
Hansen believes Monsieur Gustave will be highly competitive on his home track and rates the Sheila Laxon-trained Irish Constabulary as the main threat.
Irish Constabulary also has a massive 62kgs and will be ridden by three-kilo apprentice Stephanie Lacy.
The 10-year-old showed age was no barrier when he resumed with a brilliant win at Doomben on November 24.
Racing Queensland webnews December 15