Australian Cup aspirant Sertorius will have his Autumn Carnival campaign revved up when he steps out for a special gallop in between races at Geelong tomorrow.
Co trainers James Edwards and Bruce Elkington have high hopes for Sertorius during the upcoming Autumn with the six year old’s name among the fifty-eight nominations for the Group 1 $1m WFA Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 8.
The Freshwater Creek trainers sent Sertorius to the paddock for a break with the idea of preparing him for weight for age races in the Autumn after he won the Group 2 $350,000 WFA Deadly Design Zipping Classic (2400m) at Caulfield on November 16 at the end of last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“He only had a month off but it was easily the best that he has ever spelled,” co-trainer Edwards said.
“He is in ripping condition and he is ready for an autumn campaign.
“He has come up three springs in a row by giving him a light autumn and this is going to be the first time that we are actually going to give the horse a proper prep through the autumn.
“It is a little bit of an unknown for us but he could not possible be in better condition.”
Edwards and Elkington think that is the time to test their exciting stayer at the highest level and will kick off his Autumn campaign with a start in the Group 1 $400,000 WFA Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8 before heading to Flemington for the Australian Cup.
And if Sertorius performs well a trip to Sydney for the Group 1 $2.25m WFA The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on April 5 could be on the cards.
“It has been baby steps with him but now he is ready to step up and play with the big boys,” Edwards said.
“If he is not good enough then he is not good enough but we will walk away at the end of the autumn knowing that we could have treated or placed the horse any better.
“We will run him first-up in the Orr, which is on the eighth of February and then we will play it by ear.
“I suppose that his grand final is going to be The BMW if he is good enough.
“We will probably run him through the Australian Cup and if he is not up to that Group 1 weight-for-age level we will go to the paddock and get ready for the handicaps in the spring.”
Sertorius stepped up from the country cups circuit to be one of the stars at the end of the 2013 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
A second to German import Pakal in the Listed $200,000 TAB Cranbourne Cup (2025m) at Cranbourne on October 13 was followed by a win in the Listed $240,000 Jayco Bendigo Cup (2400m) at Bendigo on October 30.
Then Edwards and Elkington pushed Sertorius into the limelight and the six year old was sent out favourite in the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and was beaten in a tight bumping finish by the Bart and James Cummings trained Precedence.
But the tough stayer was asked to back up the following week and tackle weight for age for the first time and didn’t let his trainers down by winning the Deadly Design Zipping Classic.