Veteran stayer Sertorius returned to winning form with a tough victory in the 2015 Easter Cup at Caulfield this afternoon.
Sertorius was slow out of the gates in the early stages of the Easter Cup and was forced to settle further back than most speed mappers had expected, but jockey Noel Callow got going on the talented galloper a long way from home, while The Cleaner took up the running throughout.
Escado hit the front at the 300 metre and Sertorius took a while to get going, but he knuckled down strongly in the final stages of the race to record his first race win since he took out the 2013 edition of the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m).
Co-trainer Jamie Edwards was always adamant that Sertorius would only have a slight autumn camaign and he confirmed that the seven-year-old would head to the spelling paddock following his Easter Cup victory, but he was clearly thrilled to see his star galloper return to winning form.
“He is an interesting horse because when you look back at his history his second-up run is normally a little bit flat and even today in the first furlong he was a little bit flat,” Edwards said.
“We thought that he reached his absolute prime in the autumn last year and he ran 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in Group 1s last year, but he was always a couple of lengths off them and we decided this year to target the Group 2s and Group 3s with him and that is probably more realistic.
“This is his grade, but I thought his run in the Blamey was super and he was tough today.
“We always intended to only give him a light autumn and he will go straight to the paddock tomorrow.
“I am very, very lucky to train a horse like him.
“He is a rising eight and he is going as good as ever.”
Edwards was quick to praise the ride of Callow, but the veteran hoop admitted at the conclusion of the race that everything did not go as he planned during the Easter Cup.
Callow said that he would have like to settle Sertorius closer to The Cleaner in the early stages of the Easter Cup, but he paid credit to the way that the Group 2 winner kept finding in the final 100 metres.
“The plan was to be behind The Cleaner, but he didn’t break that good, which he can do,” Callow said.
“I was a pair back than I wanted to be, I wanted to be where Dean Holland was and not where I was, but when Escado got caught wide I elected to cart him up where I had cover anyway and it worked to my advantage because he is a deadset stayer this horse and he just keeps on going on.”
Sertorius will return to racing as an eight-year-old for a 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and he will likely be include in the early nominations for races like the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), while The Cleaner will head to the spelling paddock in Tasmania.