Trainer Jamie Edwards believes that he has Sertorius exactly where he needs to be ahead of the 2014 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Edwards is hoping to have Sertorius at his peak for either the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18 or the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and believes that the Galileo gelding is on track for whichever race ends up being his spring ‘Grand Final’.
Sertorius returned to the races with a promising sixth behind Dissident in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and Edwards told Racing Ahead that the seven-year-old will be ever better suited by the step-up to a mile in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) this weekend.
“He has come back in great order and his first-up run was good,” Edwards said.
“He is ready to take that next step up to the mile on Saturday.
“I was actually surprised with how fit he was and how good he came through that first-up run.
“Craig said he couldn’t believe how hard the horse was to pull up after the race and he went straight through the line and took a fair bit of pulling up.
“Obviously our first-up fitness was good and we obviously don’t need to do much with him anymore; he is an older horse that has had 30 odd race starts now and he knows what he is doing.
“It is just a matter of ticking him over and getting him to his grand final.
“If I could have drawn a picture of a horse and said where do I want him second-up, it would be exactly where he is now.”
Sertorius was settled towards the tail of the field in the Memsie Stakes, but he has shown plenty of tactical versatility during his racing career to date and Edwards said that he will be giving regular jockey Ryan Maloney no riding instructions.
Barrier 11 appears to make things slightly trick for Maloney, but Edwards said that he will be happy to see Sertorius close to the lead in the early stages of the race if he jumps well from the gates.
“I will be giving Ryan zero riding instructions,” Edwards said.
“Craig (Williams) said that he could have been midfield the other day, but once again we drew the outside, so Craig went back, but he said if he had drawn a gate he would have landed midfield.
“It is the same deal with Ryan; the last thing we want to do is be last or second last while they are walking in front and they sprint up and leave us front-footed.
“If he flies the gate and wants to go forward, certainly Ryan can be forward.
“He is in great nick the horse and we are heading towards the Turnbull in two weeks and then we make a decision on whether we go to the Caulfield Cup or the Cox Plate.”
Sertorius is currently available at 2014 Makybe Diva Stakes odds of $21, while Memsie Stakes winner Dissident ($3.10) remains a clear favourite from Boban ($4.50), Puissance De Lune ($6) and Messene ($8.50).