Port Macquarie racing fans will be glued to their TV sets on Saturday afternoon as their favourite horse Victorem tries to win the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane.
Trainer Jenny Graham knows the town will be behind her and the six-year-old.
“He’s got quite a lot of followers here. He gets a lot of support around the town,” she said.
“It’s just a thrill to be in it.”
But Graham and Victorem are more than just making up the numbers.
He’s rated a $15 chance which looks good value considering he’s run a length off Splintex first-up in the Hall Mark Stakes and was finishing off great behind Vega One in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Stakes last start.
Victorem has looked to be a Stradbroke type ever since he won the Country Championships Final in 2018.
He ran 13th in the Stradbroke last year when just four lengths off Tyzone but he’s in much better order now after some would’ve wondered if he’d ever get back to Group 1 racing.
“That’s correct but I am confident now after the chip was removed out of a fetlock and I think he’s back up to the mark and he’s recovered really well from his runs,” Graham said.
“It would be a nice story. We’d be happy with a win and he’s a chance.
“I couldn’t even explain how good it would feel to win it. I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it.”
Graham flies to Brisbane on Monday to watch Victorem’s last gallop on Tuesday morning and she knows where she’d like her horse and jockey Mark Du Plessis to jump from.
“I’d like between two and eight,” she said.
“We have thought he was a Stradbroke horse for a while. We had a bit of bad luck last year but this year everything’s going forward nicely.”
Meanwhile, Subpoenaed had an exhibition gallop at Rosehill on Saturday ahead of her Stradbroke Handicap tilt at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
She galloped over 1000m and her last 600m was completed in less than 35 seconds.
Tommy Berry said her action was as good as ever and assistant trainer Charlie Duckworth acknowledged how unlucky she was when second to Instant Celebrity in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville.
“She should’ve won a Group 1 last start after the winner got a lucky split at the right time. That’s the reason why we’re trying again. Those Group 1s are so important to mares,” he said.
“She’s right in it. I’d like her to draw midway to out because she’s not a horse that wants to be cluttered up along the fence.”
Subpoenaed is currently a $17 chance in the big race.
I asked a few leading trainers last week if a track manager has ever told them how to train their horses.
Obviously the answers were all no.
So why, occasionally, does a trainer put pressure on a track manager to water their track ahead of a race.
Remember how much Flemington was watered before the 2005 Melbourne Cup as Makybe Diva went for three in a row?
Track managers in Australia do a great job and are very professional in how they go about preparing their surfaces.
“It’s not my position to say how they should prepare tracks at all,” trainer Gary Portelli said.
“The person working with the track every day would know how to treat it more than a person sitting in the grandstand.
“It’s not our job. I know nothing about surfaces and soil so the last thing you want to do is to ask me.
“I’ve got horses that can’t win if it’s heavy and others who can’t win if it’s not firm. You can’t have it to suit yourself week after week. If you don’t like the track, don’t run them.”
Apparently Zaaki needs a softer surface for the Q22 than what will be presented (unless it rains) at Eagle Farm this weekend.
But what about the horses this weekend who want a Good 3?
“We’ve all got our own self-interests and that’s natural,” champion trainer Kris Lees said.
“There’s no doubt that some horses want Good 3 tracks just like some want Heavy 10s and there’s nothing wrong with having variety in tracks.
“We just want a safe surface for horses and if they can be presented as a Good 4, that’s ideal.”
The watering of Randwick the day before the Queen Elizabeth Stakes this autumn, coincidentally before Addeybb was racing, was unacceptable.
It was not a Good 4 as said and it should’ve been.
“They should not touch a track with water once acceptances come out. You accept on the track that you expect to be running on,” Portelli said.
“On Wednesday we get a fair idea of what we’re running on because of the weather forecast but if it’s man-made changes then I’m going to get dirty.
“Don’t change it between Wednesday and Saturday.”
Originally published asVictorem flies country flag in Stradbroke
Source: Read Full Article