By Ray Hickson
Trainer Gary Moore has made no secret about how much ability he believes Petronius has and he’s keen for the lightly raced four-year-old to start to realise his potential this spring.
And with the partnership between Gary and his brother John, the multiple champion Hong Kong trainer, getting off to a flying start during the week the stable is keen for the momentum to continue.
There might be thousands of kilometres between the brothers at present but Gary Moore said they’re in regular contact and John has his finger right on the pulse when it comes to the team and Petronius in particular.
“John always knew I had a high regard for the horse, he said to me ‘are you sure you’ve got him fit enough’,’’ Moore said.
“He’s still a little wintery in the coat but that will come on. We’ve always thought he was a lot better than a benchmark 72 so this is the right place to start him off.’’
Petronius, a $1m yearling, returns as an $8 chance in the Quincy Seltzer Handicap (1300m) having not raced since a Warwick Farm win back in May and an aborted trip to Queensland.
Moore said he’s been pleased with the entire’s condition and his recent barrier trial win and is rapt to have secured Nash Rawiller to ride.
“It’s unfortunate that he had a few little issues,’’ he said.
“He was set to run in the Fred Best in Queensland but had an elevated temperature and missed the race. He’s not an overly heavy colt so he has come to hand quickly and he didn’t blow a lot after the trial.
“I thought his trial was impressive and he looks well. Kerrin (McEvoy) was enthusiastic after he rode in the trial but unfortunately he had a prior engagement for Mr Ho.
“Nash asked me could he ride him six months ago but I had booked Kerrin to ride him, I was lucky Nash was available and I think his style will suit him.’’
For quite some time Moore has been itching to have Petronius ridden just off the pace and with barrier one on Saturday plus a couple of noted on-pacers engaged he’ll get that chance.
“When Kerrin won on him at Warwick Farm he said to me he’d love to have a horse to let him chase rather than making the running,’’ he said.
“There is a lot of speed in the race and I think it might give us the opportunity to ride him off speed if that eventuates. It might be the time to give it a try.”
The Moore partnership had a dream start at Newcastle on Tuesday with their first runner when Hong Kong owned Morethannumberone led all the way to a maiden win.
Petronius wins a trial at Rosehill on August 31
The brothers will have their first Group runner as a team on Saturday week when former UK and Hong Kong galloper Crack On Crack On contests the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m).
The six-year-old is nominated for some major spring races and hasn’t raced since placing in the 2019 Hong Kong Derby but turned some heads running a close second in a Rosehill trial earlier this week.
“Brother John bought him out of the UK to win the Hong Kong Derby. He ran third and then he suffered an injury so he’s been off the scene for a long time,’’ Moore said.,
“John knows him well and he was very impressed by his trial.
“Let’s get the Theo Marks over and get Glen Boss’ feedback and make a decision on where we go from there.”