By Ray Hickson
It may be a throw at the stumps but trainer Paul Cave is warming to lightly raced gelding Monsieur Sisu surprising a few in the Group 3 $160,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The four-year-old is a benchmark 71 horse and racing well out of his class – Cave elected to skip the benchmark 88 event on the same program – but he’s yet to reach his full potential according to the Warwick Farm trainer.
“He’s a horse that races on the pace so when we drew the inside alley the owner said why not give him a go,’’ Cave said.
“If I’d have drawn an alley he’d have been running in the other race but I won a Kingston Town, which is a Group 3, with a maiden (Greenmailer in 1998).
“Whether it is a horse or an athlete, every time you go out there’s an element of wear and tear so sometimes I think you grab what you can when you can.’’
Monsieur Sisu is the outsider in the Festival Stakes but could hardly be considered a rank outsider at $19 with TAB.
Monsieur Sisu runs a close fourth at Rosehill on November 17
He’s had two runs back from a spell, both at 1300m, and was beaten less than half a length by Sweet Deal in a benchmark 78 two weeks ago.
And for a horse that Cave says isn’t suited by a sit and sprint race he recorded 33.82 (Punters Intel) for his last 600m.
“They were both very good runs. He was swamped a bit towards the end because he doesn’t have that brilliant sprint finish but he can hold his pace,’’ he said.
“He has ability and he’ll show more ability when he gets over a bit further.
“I think he is going to be a reasonably handy on the pace stayer. He’s quite an insecure horse, he always loves to be with a mate whether it is cantering or working fast.
“He’s very adaptable, you can put him forward or back, and he doesn’t pull when you put him up on the pace.’’
Rosehill is expected to start in the soft range and that’s another factor in Monsieur Sisu’s favour as both his wins have come in the wet.
Jason Collett will ride him 0.5kg over his 53kg.
While Monsieur Sisu is thrown out of his class at Rosehill, Cave is dropping stablemate Nacho Libre back to provincial level hoping for a confidence boosting win in the final event at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
The five-year-old has finished midfield in his two starts in midweek city grade since he was narrowly beaten at Warwick Farm in October.
“He’s a good bread and butter type horse and I think he’s a horse that will pick one up in town,’’ Cave said.
“I thought we’ll slip back in class and try to grab something on the way through.’’