The Group 1 $350,000 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) is next on the winter agenda for Port Macquarie-trained gelding Victorem after his upset win in the Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm on the weekend.
Prepared by Jenny Graham but currently based in Brisbane with local horseman Barry Lockwood, the I Am Invincible five-year-old showed just how talented a horse he is when he’s on-song winning the Group 2 $175,000 Victory Stakes (1200m) second-up.
A double-figure outsider in betting after his failed run fresh at Doomben in the Group 3 BRC Sprint, Victorem looked much calmer in the mounting yard at Eagle Farm ahead than last start when he bucked in the barriers and finished dead last.
“We did expect him to run well a fortnight ago and he lived up to it today,” Lockwood said after the Victory Stakes.
“He loved Eagle Farm even when he was up here last year…a lot of horses do, we go to Doomben and the stabling is different to what’s here and they relax better over here.”
Given a perfect ride by jockey Mark Du Plessis, last October’s The Kosciuszko runner-up Victorem was back with a vengeance jumping beautifully out of the barriers this time to settle just off the leading pack.
Winter Bride took up the lead ahead of the Robert Heathcote-trained Deep Image and last start BRC Sprint winner Tambo’s Mate who raced around third the fence, with the Tony Gollan-trained Outback Barbie fourth on his outside.
BRC Sprint runner-up Deep Impage and his last start conqueror Tambo’s Mate tackled Winter Bride on the home straight, but it was Victorem driving up the middle who had the best finish in the race charging home to win.
On the line Victorem had a narrow margin to spare over the returning Sunshine Coast Cup runner-up and reigning Bernborough Handicap winner Niccanova who flashed into second just ahead of Deep Impact in third.
“He’s got it (a great turn of foot),” Lockwood said of Victorem.
“He just goes by them on the bit and it just makes me feel sick!
“To be given the chance to handle this horse for Jenny has been great as she’s a long-time friend.”
Lockwood confirmed the Stradbroke Handicap next-up back at the track on June 6 for Victorem who presented as a huge light weight hope with just 52.5kg.
“It’s straight to the Stradbroke,” he said.
“A couple of jockeys will be sawing their legs off to ride him (at the light weight) now!”
Du Plessis, who is unavailable to ride Victorem in the Stradbroke, said the horse was a huge danger in the upcoming Group 1 with the 1400m at Eagle Farm to suit.
“Riding him on the course proper here last Friday, he gave me an enormous feel.
“He came through it (the run today) beautifully and he won really well.
“I dare say this horse could improve. He pulled up a little bit stuff as he’s entitled to do.
“He ran right through the line today, I don’t think the 1400m will be a problem and he bounced off that track.”
Victorem was at $21 in the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au before the Victory Stakes and has subsequently firmed into $8 behind Trekking ($6) and Dawn Passage ($7).