JANUARY 25, 2024: AN expat Frenchman who is a naturalized Aussie winning the Australia Day Cup?
It will be some story indeed if Marc Chevalier can land the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Warwick Farm tomorrow with a seven-year-old stallion.
The experienced horseman, who now calls Hawkesbury home, says it would be special to win the feature race with Torrens (Jenny Duggan) at his last start for the time being.
“I had to apply for permanent residency after I came to Australia, and then later become a naturalized Australian at a ceremony when I was assistant trainer to Gary Moore at Rosehill Gardens seven or eight years ago,” Chevalier said.
“I’m really pleased with Torrens’ progress since he ran fifth in the January Cup at Rosehill a fortnight ago.
“He was three wide without cover, and kept coming to the line.
“It was his first run after a break (he hadn’t started since early December when placed in the 2400m Christmas Cup at Rosehill) and the 2000m was too short.”
Chevalier intends to give the son of Cox Plate winner Adelaide another break after the Australia Day Cup – but not for long.
“Being a stallion, I can’t put him out for any length of time, otherwise he would put on too much weight,” he explained.
“Depending on his Warwick Farm performance, we will make a plan as what we do with him next time in work.”
As well as Torrens, Chevalier also is looking forward to starting Dubai Empress in the Jim Velich Memorial Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) at Newcastle on Saturday.
Louise Day will ride the three-year-old filly, who has raced only three times and broke through at home last month in a 1300m Maiden before finishing third in a Midway Benchmark 64 (1300m) at Newcastle on January 11.
“I could have run Dubai Empress at Warwick Farm, but the forecast is much cooler for Newcastle on Saturday and I want to look after her,” Chevalier said.
“She ran really well at Newcastle last time, and the extra 100m suits and it is for provincial-trained horses only.”
Meanwhile, Hawkesbury’s exciting front-runner Luvoir will chase a city hat-trick at Royal Randwick on Saturday – without his regular jockey.
Co-trainers Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard thought long and hard before deciding to break up the successful partnership between their gelding and champion apprentice Zac Lloyd.
Instead of tackling the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1600m), where Lloyd could have ridden Luvoir against only six rivals, the couple opted to give the gelding his chance to earn black type in the shorter Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m).
Even with the early withdrawals of Kinloch and Essonne (both racing at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, 13 horses remain in the Carrington.
Lloyd has a 50 per cent strike rate on Luvoir, riding him to victory four times from eight starts, including his latest dashing wins, firstly when resuming after a break over 1200m at Warwick Farm on December 6 and then 24 days later over the Carrington course at Randwick.
Both were Benchmark 78 Handicaps, and the rise in class sees Luvoir tumble to the 53kg minimum; 5.5kg less than his last start.
Lloyd was unavailable to continue his association with the seven-year-old in the Carrington, having already been booked for Zou Tiger.
Tyler Schiller will now ride Luvoir, who hasn’t started since his thrilling performance at the end of last month when he tore out with a big lead before the home turn, and wasn’t caught.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to forsake Zac staying on the horse, but there were a couple of factors which influenced us to go for the shorter race,” Jason Attard explained today.
“Luvoir hasn’t raced for a month as there weren’t really any suitable races to run him in.
“As a result we were concerned he might be a bit fresh to run out a strong 1600m.
“The hot weather around also had us worried about going to the ‘mile’ with him.
“We realise it’s a bold step going to Listed company, but the horse gives his all and we know he will give another great sight.”
Team Attard also is delighted that Luvoir’s new jockey has already gained valuable experience on the gelding.
“Tyler has kindly been out to Hawkesbury to get the feel of Luvoir in trackwork,” Jason Attard said.
“He is a quirky horse, but reacted well to Tyler, so that’s a positive leading into Saturday’s race.”