Promising stayer Sertorius could be aimed at the 2014 Melbourne Cup if he runs up trainer Bruce Elkington’s expectations in the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Sertorius is going into the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the last day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival having won the Listed $240,000 Jayco Bendigo Cup (2400m) at Bendigo on October 30.
The lightly raced six year old is following the same path that one time Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune followed before he annihilated last year’s field.
A bold showing by Sertorius on Saturday will prompt Elkington, who co-trains with Jamie Edwards, to seriously think about a Melbourne Cup campaign next year.
“If he went on and won this race very well who knows, next year we might be looking at the Cups,” Elkington told the Sportsman.
“He’s been a lightly raced horse and it is a credit to the owner Mike Palmer.
“We brought him along very quietly, he didn’t run until he was a three year old and he has had very spaced preparations.”
Elkington was happy with Sertorius’ effort when second to Pakal in the Listed $200,000 TAB Cranbourne Cup (2025m) at Cranbourne on October 13 but the Galileo gelding was forced to miss the Group 3 $300,000 Sportingbet Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 23 when he developed some joint problems.
Luckily Sertorius responded to treatment and was able to line up in the Bendigo Cup and is now ready to go in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“He sprained a joint leading up to the Geelong Cup and it was one of those situations where every time we put some work into him he got some heat in the joint,” Elkington said.
“We had a vet examine him on the Tuesday before Bendigo and we trotted him up in the morning and he was free enough so we ran him.”
“He had a good searching gallop on Tuesday morning and he came through it well.”
Elkington has no worries about Sertorius stepping up to the 2600m after handling the 2400m of the Bendigo Cup fine.
“He was very strong considering it was his first go over the distance and stepping up from 2025m of the Cranbourne Cup we thought it was a great effort,” Elkington said.
“I think the way he finished off he should have no trouble. He is going into the race a very fit horse and Ryan will give him a perfect ride.”
Ryan Maloney has been the gelding’s regular rider for the last twelve months and will again be on Sertorius who is marked as the $5 favourite for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Lexus Stakes runner-up Let’s Make Adeal is the second pick at $6 just ahead of Moonee Valley Cup winner Precedence who is marked as a $7 chance.
The Nicky Henderson trained English stayer Forgotten Voice will be making his Australian debut after missing out on a start in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington earlier in the week and has been marked a $8.50 chance.
The Team Hawkes trained La Amistad, a half-sister the three times Melbourne Cup winner and 2002 Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Makybe Diva is taking a huge step up in class after winning a Bendigo Maiden and a restricted race over 2200m and has been marked as a $9 chance.