Lindsay Park continues to learn about the imported Pilote D’essai and is hoping to find out even more in the Pakenham Cup.
A wide barrier forced Pilote D’essai into a leading role when he passed a distance test to win the Ballarat Cup on November 19 over 2200 metres,
The win has given senior trainer David Hayes confidence Pilote D’essai can run a strong 2500m in Saturday’s Pakenham Cup.
“We can give him a try at the trip and it will help me set a path for the autumn,” Hayes said.
“I don’t have any queries about him running the trip as he was strong at Ballarat, especially from that barrier.”
Hayes hopes to set Pilote D’essai on an Australian Cup and BMW path in the autumn.
Pilote D’essai had been frustrating for punters before his Ballarat Cup success after getting back in previous races and running on.
He looked an above average performer with his Australian debut win at Bendigo in the autumn after which he was spelled for a spring campaign in which he was winless until Ballarat.
But Hayes is predicting Pilote D’essai will be even better in the autumn.
“This is his first real preparation and he’s done a great job,” Hayes said.
Apprentice Regan Bayliss, who guided Pilote D’essai to victory at Ballarat, again has the ride on Saturday.
“I don’t think we’ll change the bowler,” Hayes said.
“He did a pretty good job on him the other day.”
A field of 14 will line up in Saturday’s $200,000 feature with former New Zealander Puccini to carry top weight of 60kg with Stephen Baster to ride.
A last-start fourth in the Ballarat Cup, Puccini will be lining up for his seventh start in a Cup race in his past seven starts.
The gelding contested the Avoca and Horsham Cups for Wayne Walters before Ballarat while under the training of Darren Weir he ran in the Brisbane, Ipswich and Caloundra Cups.