His name smacks of royalty and, if there's any doubt on the weight he carries, it pays to know King Louis rocks up at 550kg on the scale.

Put another way, Hastings trainer John Bary's horseracing prospect translates to a big rig in the equine world, never mind which dialect you speak.

But Bary is quick to put any expectations of his 3-year-old bay gelding into perspective before he charges out of a desirable barrier three with Jason Waddell in the saddle in the group two Sacred Falls Hawke's Bay Guineas at 2.50pm today.

King Louis, out of Equiano (France) from Nimbletoes (Australia), is the only Bay-trained contender not only in the 1400m dash of 3-year-olds for the $100,000 race but also the the marquee $250,000 Livamol Classic in the third and final sequel of the Bostock New Zealand Hawke's Bay Spring Racing Carnival here.


Hastings co-trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen had Mohaka in the initial 16-horse race but the filly has been scratched.

Bary likes to think King Louis will put that size to use today in the mould of raw power despite the appearance of sending a boy to the corner dairy to buy a packet of cigarettes.

"He should run a good race but he's still learning what to do, even though he's raced at the top level last year, coming in second in a Listed race on debut and fifth in a group one so he can handle the pressure of a big day," says the 48-year-old of the gelding who was runner-up at the 1000m Anuka Smoker Wellesley Stakes about this time last year and fifth in the 1400m group one Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes on March 31.

"He's probably still a boy in a man's body but it certainly helps having that strength in those races."

He feels King Louis' mental fortitude is perhaps where more scrutiny will come in.

"That's been his downfall because he's been wanting to, you know, do things a lot quicker and rush off," he explains. "He just needs to settle, relax during the race and then use that speed at the business end, so to speak."

Bary told NZ Racing Desk that when King Louis was gelded as a 2-year-old, they found one of his testicles was twisted 180 degrees. The horse associated it with pain that they needed to educate him on.

"The day the penny drops and he works out he can sit back and use his speed at the other end of the race, then we are going to have a pretty serious racehorse."


Bary says jockeys have been chopped and changed on King Louis for myriad reasons but Waddell's pedigree isn't in any doubt as a group one winner.

"More importantly he's got some of the best hands in the business - very soft hands - and he rode Kawi because of that so I'm really thrilled to have him on and, hopefully, both of them will win."

He says barrier three is godsend and will help their cause on a track that was rated dead 4, on a left-hand 1700m track with a 375m straight, yesterday morning.

"The better the track, the better the horse, we think, so we're happy where we're sitting with him."

Hastings trainer John Bary says when the penny drops for King Louis things will happen and that could be at the group 2 Hawke's Bay Guineas today. Photo/file
Hastings trainer John Bary says when the penny drops for King Louis things will happen and that could be at the group 2 Hawke's Bay Guineas today. Photo/file

Bary says King Louis is still a "maidener", who hasn't won a race yet, but he's mindful the horse has been there or thereabouts in giving them the ultimate warm fuzzies at the birdcage and deserves his place today.

He would love to bracket him for the marquee 1400m first leg of the spring carnival here, the group one Tarzino Trophy Daffodil Raceday next year but throws caution to the wind.

"There's a lot of water to flow under the bridge before he gets there but we'll get through his 3-year-old season first and see where he ends up.

"If everything is right, he may well end up there."

Bary has had some memorable returns with owner/breeder Chouxmaani Investments Ltd in his career, especially with champion stallion Jimmy Choux, and he'll be banking on some rub of the green from Richard and Liz Wood, of Hastings.

"He'll [King Louis] will be racing under the same colours so we're hoping that lightning strikes twice."

Bary claimed the Hawke's Bay Guineas with Jimmy Choux and jockey Jonathan Riddell in 2010, breaking a decade-long home-grown drought.

"I've raced it a couple of times and finished fourth but it's a big race on your home track so it's one of those races you'd like to win," he says.

He's claimed three winners from seven runners this season, along with a few promising places, from his Timoti Stables of about 35 which house close to 10 per cent of them as black-type performers.

Vinnie's Volley, a filly who steps up to a bench mark 82 following back-to-back victories this term, is also a black-type in the making in Bary's equation.

High Spirits, a stayer, will be put through another cycle, the 2200m the Bay Ford NZ Punter Of The Year, as the mare continues her path towards the group three Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m) on November 17.

As the equal top-rater, the mare will carry 58kg with Waddell aboard.