Trainer Paul Messara won’t be giving up on Chateau Fort in the Group One Queensland Derby in June even if the three-year-old is beaten in the Gunsynd Classic at Eagle Farm.
Messara feels Chateau Fort will struggle over 1600 metres in Saturday’s Group Three feature but remains hopeful he can run a place.
Messara’s grandfather, Maurice Messara, bred and races Chateau Fort along with stablemate Mic Mac.
Mic Mac has been troubled by feet issues but Messara is hopeful he can return to racing in time for the latter stages of the Brisbane winter carnival.
Messara, who also saddles up Albert The Fat in Saturday’s Group Two Victory Stakes (1200m), believes Chateau Fort has a promising staying future.
“He’ll make a nice horse later on but I just feel he won’t be at his best over 1600 metres,” Messara said.
“I don’t expect him to be too effective until he gets up to 2000 metres and then I’ll be more confident with him.
“He’s still a good each-way chance tomorrow.”
Chateau Fort, a son of Kempinsky, has been restricted to racing at Messara’s home base at Scone in the NSW Hunter Valley where he’s started three times for two wins and a third.
The colt won his maiden over 1300 metres at his second start in late March before making a successful step up to 1600 metres on April 15.
Messara will give Chateau Fort the traditional lead-up to the Queensland derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
“He’s heading for the Derby here and will run next in the Rough Habit Plate and probably the Grand Prix,” he said.
“I’m only looking at the carnival here for the time being and I want to see how he goes before looking too far ahead.
“I expect him to settle around midfield and he’ll be hitting the line strongly.”
Messara was unable to campaign Chateau Fort during the recent autumn carnival in Sydney.
“He just wasn’t ready to go for the Sydney carnival,” he said.
“He’s been a slow maturer and was no chance of winning over 1200 metres and needed education.”
Messara feels Albert The Fat will take huge improvement from his weight-for-age run in the Victory Stakes.
“He’ll improve a lot after this run,” he said.
“He’s a year older now and naturally gross but he’s heading towards the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke.”
Albert The Fat was formerly trained by Messara’s Queensland foreman Eden Petrie when the gelding finished third to Ghetto Blaster in last year’s Victory Stakes prior to winning the Group One BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben.
The son of Magic Albert hasn’t raced since finishing 12th to Wall Street in the Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in November.