Brett Partelle is on a mission this Melbourne Spring Carnival, the Wyong horseman ready to take on Stradbroke Handicap winner Sincero in the 2011 Cox Plate with his dual Guineas champion Torio’s Quest.
One of the biggest questions that emerged from last season’s Brisbane Winter Carnival was had Partelle’s outstanding galloper Torio’s Quest run in the Stradbroke would they have had the wood over fellow three-year-old Sincero.
Partelle believes so and he plans to prove it in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
“I know at this particular stage that I wouldn’t be swapping my horse with any horse going into the bigger races,” Partelle said.
“I’m very happy with him.”
Looking back over the top performances of the winter carnival, Scarlett Lady’s Queensland Oaks win is a definite standout, Graeme Rogerson’s Kiwi filly set for the 2011 Melbourne Cup this season.
Also right up there was the run by Oratorio gelding Torio’s Quest when he won the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm by a blistering four lengths.
In what was just a devastating display, Torio’s Quest bounced back from a last-start 11th at Randwick in the wet, stepped up to the mile for the first time and with breathtaking acceleration ran away from some of Queensland’s best three-year-olds.
While the punters and public may have been surprised by Torio’s Quest win, the horse having failed to finish better than fourth since their $1 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas victory at the Gold Coast in January, Partelle certainly wasn’t.
In a record that had many confused, leading up to the Queensland Guineas Torio’s Quest had started nine times for four wins.
His other five runs, however, were incredibly mixed and included no minor placings.
This is explained by track conditions, Partelle pointing out that any time Torio’s Quest encountered a Slow or Heavy track he failed to produce.
“If you look for his form it sticks out like a beacon,” he said.
Spelled after the Queensland Guineas win in mid-June, Torio’s Quest has come back in exceptional condition according to Partelle.
“He’s only about two weeks off a trial,” said the trainer.
“I couldn’t be happier with him and the way he’s come back.
“It is defiantly the best he’s felt and the best he’s looked in his career.”
Earlier this week rival trainer Stephen Farley confirmed that his talented Umatilla gelding Sincero would target the Cox Plate, kicking off their campaign in the $125,000 Group 3 Tramway Handicap (1400m) at Randwick on September 3.
Partelle couldn’t have been happier to hear that Sincero will be there in the 2011 Cox Plate field, a place he will do everything in his power to have Torio’s Quest at.
“Our main aim is dead set focused on the Cox Plate,” Partelle said.
“I believe he’s a livewire chance.”
Although yet to plan out a concrete spring plan, Partelle hinted at an early showdown with Sincero naming the Tramway as an appealing first-up run for Torio’s Quest.
“The Tramway we’ve looked at and it could be an option,” he said.
“We’ll sit down and discuss it after he trials.
“There’s plenty of options and he’s such a relaxed animal.
“He could go straight to 1400 meters.”
The tentative schedule for Torio’s Quest at this stage will be one run in Sydney before heading to Melbourne where they will start in two or three runs to hopefully gain a start in the coveted Cox Plate.
“We’re working back off the Cox Plate date,” Partelle said.
“Kick off with a race in Sydney, then two or three races going into the Cox Plate down in Melbourne.
“More than likely Sydney one and then off to Melbourne, that’s the plan of attack.”
Torio’s Quest has had just 10 career starts but has earned in excess of $820,000 in prize money, and Partelle believes the weight-for-age Cox Plate over 2040 metres is the ideal thoroughbred major to vie for.
“I think it’s going to be right up his alley,” Partelle said.
“His turn of foot is devastating.
“Seen a bit of him in Queensland, his two Guineas wins were outstanding.
With dual Cox Plate champion and Australia’s former best weight-for-age galloper So You Think now racing in Europe, the former Bart Cummings-trained star a ‘million-to-one’ chance of returning down under for the 2011 Cox Plate, Partelle believes there is an unquestionable absence of good, older weight-for-age horses this spring carnival.
“Looks a winnable Cox Plate this year,” he said.
“There doesn’t seem to be any outstanding or defining weight-for-age horses.
“One may emerge and hopefully it’s my horse.
“I’m sure that he will.”
Despite being a long-shot chance of making the trip to Australia, So You Think is the $7 pre-nomination Cox Plate betting favourite.
Sincero is rated a $17 chance while Partelle is sure to be jumping on the $51 Cox Plate odds for his horse Torio’s Quest.
Cox Plate 2011 nominations are released next Tuesday, August 2.