Hayes hop­ing Pilote can re­cap­ture his best

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - CRAIG BREN­NAN

LIND­SAY Park is hop­ing to wind back the clock with the im­ported Pilote D’Es­sai who will at­tempt a sec­ond vic­tory in the Bal­larat Cup.

The now seven-year-old won

2016 race at his sev­enth run in Aus­tralia and backed up a fort­night later to claim the Pak­en­ham Cup.

The sta­ble had high hopes for him the fol­low­ing au­tumn but af­ter two runs Pilote D’Es­sai’s cam­paign was in tat­ters when he suf­fered a ten­don in­jury.

It was an­other 14 months be­fore he seen again and in nine starts back he has failed to trou­ble the judge.

His best fin­ish­ing ef­fort was a first-up fifth in a 1400m hand­i­cap at Flem­ing­ton May.

Among the dis­ap­point­ments was a long last be­hind Yu­catan in the Her­bert Power Stakes be­fore his last-start sev­enth in

Kyne­ton Cup on Novem­ber 7.

Se­nior co-trainer David Hayes saw enough in Pilote D’Es­sai’s lat­est ef­fort to sug­gest the geld­ing is ready to strike form.

And he is hop­ing that will be on Satur­day.

His only other run at the track re­sulted in a two length win in the 2016 Cup af­ter he led through­out.

“Un­for­tu­nately bowed a ten­don and it’s taken a long time for him to find his form but I think he’s com­ing back into form,” Hayes said.

“He’s a big gross horse that has taken long time and a lot of rac­ing to get fit again but hope­fully we’ve got him there now.”

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