Port Louis a nightmare for punters at Sandown

A maiden race at Sandown was meant to be a confidence booster for Port Louis, but it turned into a nightmare for punters who supported the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained galloper.

Backed from $1.30 into $1.24 before easing out to $1.26 just before the jump, Port Louis wound-up in third place in the Ladbrokes Switch Plate (1400m) on Wednesday.

Port Louis had raced in ‘black type’ races through the spring and was coming off a last start sixth in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) on November 27.

Maher and Eustace were hoping for an “easy kill” to get Port Louis on the winner’s list, but in racing there is no such thing as a certainty.

Not all went to plan for Port Louis from the time he reached the barriers.

After being placed in his stall, Port Louis played up and after being removed was given the once over by the vet at the start before being passed fit to run.

Then after being a little slow to begin, jockey John Allen was looking for some cover before rolling forward three-wide outside the leaders.

Challenging the winner Oughton ($12) inside the final 300m, Port Louis could not peg back the margin and was eventually overhauled by the runner-up The Economist ($10), beaten just over a half-length.

Winning co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said racing can be a funny game having watched the $2.25 favourite Endlessly go under in the preceding race, the Ladbroke It! Plate (1300m).

“The first one got a little bit lost and the 1300 (metres) was a little bit far for her,” Hawkes said.

“That’s OK, we live and learn.”

A set of blinkers helped switch Oughton on after the three-year-old colt by More Than Ready got out of his ground on debut when fourth at Geelong.

“Troy Corstens liked his horse that won the race at Geelong and we were in all sorts, out the back and out of the ace when he should have been going forward,” Hawkes said.

“He had all the breaks today. He jumped, went to the front and rode it very well, didn’t panic, just sat and waited until he got through the dip and that was the difference between winning and losing.”

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