By Ray Hickson
He’s a Country Championships winner and a proven Group performer and trainer Jenny Graham still has Group 1 ambitions for Victorem as he returns from injury at Randwick on Saturday.
The six-year-old missed the spring with a bone chip on the off side fetlock but he’s shown the Port Macquarie trainer in his two Sydney trials that he is coming along well.
Victorem, a Group 2 winner in Brisbane in the winter before finishing unplaced in the Stradbroke, has top weight of 59kg in the Group 3 $160,000 Cellarbrations Southern Cross Stakes (1200m).
“He’s not screwed right down yet but I’m happy with where he is at this stage,’’ Graham said.
“I wanted to trial him in a little bit better company to see how he was coming up and whether I’m heading in the right direction.
“I was happy with how he trialled and how he’s come on so we’ll give it a shot.”
Graham has pencilled in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) next month as Victorem’s short term target and that’s obviously dependant on what he produces first-up.
Victorem runs third in a trial at Randwick on February 5
The 2018 Country Championships hero and 2019 Kosciuszko runner-up was a $10 chance with TAB on Thursday behind Masked Crusader ($2.40) and Graham said she’d consider running into a placing as a very good starting point and anything better is a bonus.
“It is a challenge against this opposition, there’s a few getting five and six kilos and that’s a concern when you start stepping up to this level,’’ she said.
“They’re not going to give it to me. We’ll have to be on song but going forward he has improvement left and hopefully he will run a great race and improve off that.
“If everything goes in the right pattern I feel the horse is still capable at a high level for sure.”
Unfortunately Graham will be on the sidelines for the 2021 Country Championships series but she said she's grooming a few lightly raced horses for next year.
Meanwhile, Godolphin trainer James Cummings has Roheryn in the right shape to give the Southern Cross a shake off a short freshen since his third placing in last month's Magic Millions Sprint.
The gelding accompanied Golden Eagle winner Colette in an exhibition gallop at Hawkesbury on Tuesday and Cummings expects him to be hitting the line strongly as usual.
“He hasn’t gone backwards from his interstate campaign,” he said.
“He got back from the wide gate (10) last start but still ran on nicely after a very good win first-up.”
Roheryn, Group 3 Show County winner over the Randwick 1200m in the early spring, was a $7 chance with TAB.