Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Connections of progressive Galileo gelding Sertorius believe they are a genuine shot at the Toorak Handicap 2013 in Melbourne this spring with co-trainer Bruce Elkington plotting his path to Group 1 glory.
Also prepared by Jamie Edwards alongside the Geelong-based Elkington, rising six-year-old Sertorius has won seven of their 19 starts to date but is yet to enjoy a black type victory.
They raced in their first stakes race last November at Ballarat having won five on the trot, including a benchmark 95 handicap over 2000m at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, before their seventh in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) beaten four lengths by King Diamond.
Spelled for four months Sertorius resumed at Caulfield on March 30 and was a good second to Budriguez in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m), an effort that impressed their patient connections.
“He had a pretty tough spring last year, I think he had six runs, and we just felt that we didn’t want to leave him out in the paddock for six months,” Elkington said.
“We brought him back in with the intention of giving him that one run in the Victoria Handicap and then a nice little break which the horse has had, and now full steam ahead for the spring.
“The owner Mike Palmer is a terrific owner and he’s been very patient with his horse and he’s said to us all along that he’s in no hurry with this horse.
“We’ve always been of the opinion that he would get better the older he got and it’s certainly paying dividends now.”
Elkington and co are now looking at a much bigger prize naming the $400,000 Group 1 David Jones Rose Clinic Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield Racecourse on Caulfield Guineas Day, Saturday October 12, as the grand final goal for Sertorius this coming spring.
“The main aim at this stage is the Toorak Handicap with him, it looks a lovely race for him at 1600m, he’ll get in reasonably down in the weights and, as he’s shown, he’s a very good miler,” Elkington said.
Sertorius has a great record over 1600m to date with two wins, one at Caulfield by three lengths last October, from three attempts at the distance.
The horse returned to their Freshwater Creek stables two weeks back and has been impressing Elkington with their work and attitude since coming back.
“He has been back in work for about 10 days or so now and he’s come back in terrific order,” he said.
“He had a good break after his terrific run in the Victoria Handicap at Caulfield and we couldn’t be happier with the horse.”
Leading up to the Toorak Handicap Sertorius is being earmarked for the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) first-up at Flemington on September 7 to give them another 1400m run ahead of stepping up to the mile.
“At this stage we’ve penciled in the Bobbie Lewis, the 1200 metre race at Flemington, as his possible first-up run and then he’ll probably get a 1400 metre run under his belt,” Elkington said.
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