Freshwater Creek-based Victorian horseman Jamie Edwards is confident his galloper Sertorius is fit enough for a big 2014 Turnbull Stakes performance this weekend but is sweating on a good gate in the Flemington feature.
Last time out the Galileo seven-year-old drew the outside barrier (10) for his second-up run in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on September 13.
Backing up from a sixth to the Peter Moody-trained Dissident in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m), where he was forced back to second last when also out in the visitor’s gate (11 of 11) before finishing off nicely, Sertorius ran seventh to Dissident again in the Makybe Diva.
Since then Edwards has been thrilled with the gelding’s work and is confident that when stepped out over more distance in Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) he will be finishing closer.
“He’s perfect, couldn’t be happier, he’s all ready to go,” Edwards said on RSN Sport Tuesday morning.
“We now go up to the 2000 metres and that is more his distance range.
“His work couldn’t be any better. The horse is fit enough, so there won’t be any excuses.
“If he’s not good enough, he’s not good enough, but he’s ready to go and I couldn’t be happier.”
One of a bumper 28 Turnbull Stakes nominations taken on Monday, Sertorius is after his first win since November last year when he won the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Caulfield by two lengths.
Before that his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival consisted of a win in the Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) in late October on the back of a Cranbourne Cup second, and a narrow second when just a nose off Precedence in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
His jockey Ryan Maloney lodged a protest after being inconvenienced near the 100m mark in the Queen Elizabeth but it was dismissed and his nose-away-second placing stood.
Edwards tested the horse in better company during the autumn in both Melbourne and Sydney then and liked what he saw.
Sertorius ran top five in all six of his Group assignments including a first-up second behind Moment Of Change in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).
His other Group 1 runs last time in were a fifth and fourth respectively behind Silent Achiever in the Ranvet Stakes and The BMW, and a third behind current 2014 Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer in the Sydney Cup over the two miles at Randwick on April 19.
That form is what Edwards hopes the horse returns to in the Turnbull as he faces a star-studded field with other headline nominees including Silent Achiever, Royal Descent, Happy Trails, Sacred Falls, Foreteller and Sydney Cup champ The Offer among others.
“We just need to draw a gate,” Edwards added.
“The Turnbull is not the race he’s been set for, but gee we’d love to draw (barrier) 3 or 4 on Saturday.”
The 2014 Turnbull Stakes final field and barrier draw is set for release on Wednesday, acceptances closing at midday.
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