Port Guillaume jumps to improved showing

When Port Guillaume first arrived from France in 2020, big things were expected for the stayer who was among the nominations for the Cups.

But soon after joining Lindsay Park, the stayer was ruled out of that spring with bone bruising, requiring a stint in the paddock.

After a mixture of performance last spring and this autumn, Port Guillaume is on his last chance for Lindsay Park before he may embark on a jumps career.

Port Guillaume runs in the Neds Punters Toolbox Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday, a race that shapes as likely to determine his future.

Now in the care of Ben and Jd Hayes, Port Guillaume showed a glimpse of his ability when a first-up fifth in the Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield in February before a poor eighth behind Pondus at Flemington over 2000m in March.

Since that last start, Port Guillaume has been given stints of jumping and scored a Cranbourne hurdle school victory on May 12.

Ben Hayes said the jumps sessions have switched on the gelding.

“He’s not a bad jumper,” Hayes said.

“We thought it would wake him up and his work at home has really sharpened up and he’s a happy horse at the moment.

“We thought we’d give him another try on the flat and see how he goes, but we have found a very hard race, so it will be a good guide.

“At his best he’s up to them and if he can find his form like he had in Europe, he can go very close, but if he runs like he has been, then we make look to take him over the jumps.”

Hayes is mindful of the track condition on Saturday with the bone bruising Port Guillaume suffered early in Australian career still in the back of his mind.

“Any give in the ground will certainly be a bonus,” Hayes said.

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