Well-backed favourite Sertorius was given a gun ride by jockey Ryan Maloney and was too strong for the rest of the field in the 2013 Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) this afternoon.
Sertorius was available at odds as long as $5 earlier this morning but was backed into $4.20 and justified the betting plunge by producing a strong staying effort to score a comfortable victory from Lloyd Williams-owned Massiyn and Peter Moody-trained import Kesampour.
The Galileo gelding has performed well without breaking through for a victory this preparation; finishing sixth in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m), second in the Jeep Don’t Hold Back Handicap (1500m) and second in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m).
Co-trainers Jamie Edwards and Bruce Elkington were delighted that the promising stayer was able to break through for his first victory at Listed level but Edwards admitted that they considering pulling the six-year-old out of the race this morning.
“It was probably the first time I felt a bit of pressure with the horse because he had a bit of a hiccup going into Geelong and I was really pretty upbeat about him winning the Geelong Cup,” Edwards said.
“The decision to run him was made at 7.30 this morning.
“He had a little injury, was going to a mile and a half for the first time and he had a quiet week so there was a query on it.
“You just always have it in the back of the mind and we have always looked after him, he is very lightly-raced, and I would have kicked myself if I brought him here today and he pulled up sore.
“I am really wrapped for the horse.”
Elkington was quick to pay credit to his training partner and said that the pair would have to sit down with Sertorius’ owner over the coming days and make a decision about the future of the tough stayer.
“We have both been following the horse closely over the last couple of weeks and James made the right decision this morning,” Elkington said.
“We haven’t gone that far yet and I am just glad that this one is over.
“We will go and have dinner with the owner tonight Mike Palmer and have a talk about things.”
Ryan Maloney has ridden Sertorius in his last eleven starts and gave the six-year-old a gem of a ride, settling his mount just behind the leading pair of Tuscan Fire and Kesampour, and said after the race that he owed the progressive stayer a good ride.
“I was probably due for one,” Maloney said.
“All this prep he has just been looking for a trip and all his form has stacked up.
“Today he drew a good gate, he began well and today was the first time I haven’t asked him to trek up into the race; he did it himself and put them away.
“He has a lot of ability and Jamie has done a terrific job to get him up so quick for 2400 metres.”
Massiyn came from the back of the field strongly in what was his best performance since arriving in Australia, while Kesampour produced another tough staying effort.