Robert Smerdon hopes Under The Louvre can bow out a winner in Kingsford-Smith Cup
EVEN though his reigning Stradbroke champ Under The Louvre is off to greener pastures after Saturday’s Kingsford Smith Cup, Victorian trainer Robert Smerdon is not writing off the chances of going back-to-back in the $1.5 million sprint.
Under The Louvre will be retired to Queensland’s Grandview Stud this year at a fee of $7700, where he will stand alongside Jet Spur and Whittington.
“It will be disappointing to see him go,” Smerdon said. “From a trainer’s point of view, the sadness is horses that can win $1.8 million like him are hard to replace.
“To get a horse to race at a high level and be competitive over a long period are hard to find.”
The shrewd trainer concedes Under The Louvre is probably not going as well this year as 12 months ago and isn’t holding his breath for a fairytale send-off tomorrow.
“Physically he’s in good shape. He’s very fit. His previous run was only fair, but since then he’s been very good,” he said. “The concern is that I don’t think we get any better as we get older.
“If he lined up against what he did 12 months ago, the Under The Louvre from last year would beat this one. The other issue is how the track plays. He can handle affected ground, but not heavy ground. It depends how Eagle Farm performs.”
Smerdon ruled out a Stradbroke defence for the six-year-old, instead relying on Hooked and possibly Group 2 winning three-year-old Oak Door.
“Oak Door is only a three-year-old and could go for the Stradbroke or Queensland Guineas,” he said. “The Guineas is probably the softer option against his own age, but he’s still an entire and he’s already won a Group 2, so the temptation is to try and run in the Stradbroke and 1400m is his best trip.
“Hooked is a 1400m specialist at this stage of his life and affected ground doesn’t bother him. If it was bottomless he’d just churn through it. He’s done a lot of his racing right handed, so he’s a horse that could fit into the race quite suitably.”
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby – Brisbane Courier Mail