The Lindsay Park stable is looking forward to finally getting imported galloper Port Guillaume out onto the racetrack.
The French-bred galloper arrived in Australia last year as a highly credentialled 2021 Caulfield Cup contender, but the son of Le Havre was ruled out on veterinary grounds.
Almost 12 months on, Port Guillaume is set to run in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on Saturday.
TheBen and Jd Hayes-trained galloper arrived on the first shipment of horses for last year’s Spring Carnival, but a subsequent bone scan revealed bone bruising through his body.
“We gave him a long break, he’s been gelded, and he seems to have come back nicely,” Ben Hayes said.
“He’s put on some good condition and has definitely acclimatised.”
Hayes said Port Guillaume was given light work earlier in the year, not under saddle, before another break ahead of his spring build-up.
“It’s been a long process, but I really feel it has worked,” Hayes said.
“He did have a shuffly action previously, but now he’s very sound which I think bodes well going forward and I think he’s an exciting horse on what he’s shown us at home.”
Port Guillaume has had two jump-outs at Flemington and a trial over 1190m at Cranbourne to prepare for Saturday’s return.
While he has done the work, Hayes believes Port Guillaume will benefit from the run.
“It’s a really good kick-off for him,” Hayes said.
“He’s had three jump-outs having been off for a long time to be forward enough to be competitive.
“He gives all our riders a good feel at home and while the mile might be a bit short, it’s a race he will improve out of.”
Hayes said the stable was aiming Port Guillaume at next month’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
He said the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on September 25 was the likely next assignment for Port Guillaume, although Hayes does not think the best will be seen of the gelding until he gets to 2000m and beyond.