Next month’s Group 1 2013 Australian Derby (2400m) is a possibility for David Hayes-trained gelding Gerontius after he scored a one-length win at Sandown on Wednesday.
While a midweek 1800m race is a long way from 2400m against the best three-year-old stayers in the land, Hayes is not afraid to dream big with a horse he believes has genuine staying potential.
The high profile trainer said the Australian Derby is the number one goal but if he doesn’t quite reach those heights he will head to the 2013 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphetville in May.
“We’ll just let him place himself, see what he does and build towards those races,” Hayes said.
“I do think he’s got the opportunity to be a very good young stayer.”
The son of Oratorio was strong in the final stages to claim his second victory from seven career starts.
He clearly appreciated the rise in distance after running ninth first-up in the CS Hayes Stakes (1400m).
Jockey Dwayne Dunn was aboard the emerging stayer for the first time and gave him a glowing endorsement ahead of his Group 1 targets.
“The (Derby) trip won’t be a problem,” Dunn said.
“He’s got a great attitude and he just lobs along nicely.”
Gerontius debuted with a third-place finish at Albury in September before breaking his maiden status at the same venue in his second start.
He then secured minor placings at Warwick Farm and Geelong before struggling when thrown into stakes company in the Listed Myer Spring Fashion Stakes at Flemington in November.
The Australian Derby is due to take place at Randwick on April 13.
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