Following the exciting debut performance of Bel Esprit 2YO, Clevadude, at Cranbourne yesterday, Patrick Bartley spoke with trainer Rick Hore-Lacy:
Clevadude, a $225,000 graduate from the Magic Millions sale on the Gold Coast, recorded an effortless win prompting the trainer to target the Magic Millions Classic and Golden Slipper.
''It's a bit of a stretch to say that Clevadude is the very best horse I've ever trained. I've had some very good ones and while this bloke is a good horse, he's got a long way to go,'' Hore-Lacy said.
''He's a very quiet horse who's adapted to racing perfectly.''
Hore-Lacy has already won a Golden Slipper, with Canny Lad in 1990, and many believe he could have won another two Slippers had luck been on his side.
He prepared the outstanding Redoute's Choice, but the colt's hopes of a Golden Slipper success were thwarted when he became sick 12 hours before the race. Redoute's Choice has gone on to be one of Australasia's finest stallions.
''Clevadude has done what all of my very, very good horses have done, like Redoute's Choice, Canny Lad, Toorak Toff, that win a jump-out by missing the start, circling the field and winning,'' Hore-Lacy said. ''Last Tuesday I trialled him at Caulfield and it wasn't much of a trial as he just bolted in. The timing wasn't ideal as his first race start was just four days away, but I had to do it to fit the program.''
Clevadude will compete at Mooney Valley in a fortnight before heading to the Gold Coast to compete in the $2.1 million Magic Millions two weeks later.
If successful, Hore-Lacy then intends to ease up on Clevadude and aim him at the Golden Slipper.
''It's early days yet. He's got to win at Mooney Valley probably to get him into the Magic Millions, so we'll take it from there. But I think it's a bit much, asking him to run in the Magic Millions and then go to the Blue Diamond and after that the Golden Slipper.
''You can't do it all, so after the Gold Coast we'll look at easing him, and with the Golden Slipper at Easter it gives you a little room to move.''