Esprit De Bullet Headlines Compass Handicap Field

Veteran gelding Esprit De Bullet will have the chance to record his first race win in Melbourne for almost three years when he contests the Compass Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Esprit De Bullet will take on a tough field in the Compass Handicap at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Esprit De Bullet will take on a tough field in the Compass Handicap at Moonee Valley on Saturday. Photo by: Jenny Barnes

Esprit De Bullet was banned from racing for three months after he bled during his narrow victory in the Adelaide Galvanising Handicap (1050m) at Morphettville in July and returned to the races with a sixth place finish behind Canali in the 1Print.Com.Au Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day.

The son of Bel Esprit missed the start badly but was still able to run on strongly for a credible sixth place finish and trainer John Hyam told Racing Ahead this morning that he was happy with the run.

“He just bungled the start and that was basically his race run,” Hyam said.

“I was really happy with his run and he still hit the line hard.

“One in five races he will do something stupid at the start and miss it badly but that is probably the worst that he has done it.”

At eight-years-old Esprit De Bullet is clearly a veteran, even though he has only had 26 race starts, but Hyam believes that the tough gelding is in some of the best form of his career and is ready to score his first race win in Melbourne since he won a heat of the 55 Second Challenge at Moonee Valley in 2010.

“He came through the run really well,” Hyam said.

“He came home and he has been galloping probably the best that he has been galloping so I am really happy with him.

“He has improved a lot since that one and I am really happy with going into Saturday’s race.”

Esprit De Bullet has been given several opportunities to record a maiden win at black-type level but has thus far been unable to record a Listed or Group win; with his second place finish to Planet Voyage in the Listed Manihi Classic (1000m), earlier this year, the closest he has gone to black-type success.

However, Hyam is not giving up hope with the veteran gelding and has set him for the Listed City Of Marion Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on December 7 and the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on Boxing Day.

“He will have this run Saturday and we will bring him back here and he will run in the City Of Mario Stakes and then he will race on Boxing Day (in the Christmas Handicap),” Hyam said.

“He tries every time he goes out there.

“If he starts well you know he is going to be right there in the finish and if he doesn’t he still hits the line well.”

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Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.