Stayer on the rise Sertorius has ramped up his preparations for big race targets in Melbourne, and possibly Sydney, with an exhibition gallop at Geelong.
The Zipping Classic winner is being readied for a return in the Group One CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield next month but his defining race of the campaign is set to be the Group One Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 8.
Sertorius was given a solid hit-out with stablemate Severn Road between races at Wednesday’s Geelong meeting and Jamie Edwards, who trains in partnership with Bruce Elkington, described it as “perfect work” for Sertorius at this stage of his preparation.
“It was the first time he’s been let off the bridle (this preparation). He’ll probably have one trial somewhere and then go first-up into the Orr,” Edwards said.
Six-year-old Sertorius won the Bendigo Cup and Group Two Zipping Classic during the spring, with a close second in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington in between his two wins.
Edwards is looking at the Australian Cup as a test for Sertorius.
“If he’s not competitive in that sort of race, we’ll pull the pin and go back to the handicaps in the spring,” Edwards said.
“If he looks like he’s going to be competitive at weight-for-age over a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m) and a mile-and-a-half (2400m), then we’ll have a crack at Sydney.”
The Group One BMW over 2400m at weight-for-age looms as the “obvious” race for Sertorius in Sydney during the autumn if he heads that way.