By Ray Hickson
Trainer Gary Moore is sure the best is still to come from $1 million colt Petronius and has given the three-year-old a decent rap by likening him to his Group 1 winning sprinter Takedown.
The Redoute’s Choice colt has won two of his seven starts, with four seconds, and Moore will set his sights on bigger things if he can continue his rise in the Calyx @ Coolmore Handicap (1500m).
Moore is torn between targeting the Listed Civic Stakes next month or saving him for the spring and heading up the training partnership with his brother John Moore, who finishes up in Hong Kong in July, likely to start by August 1.
“I’ve expected a lot from him since he came into the stable,’’ Moore said.
“But we had the setback that he had to have a tie-back. But Takedown was the same and he came back and won a Winterbottom.
“I’m sure Petronius is in the same league. His breathing is perfect and everything is heading in the right direction.
“If we are lucky enough to win do we keep on going or give him a short break and come back for the spring.’’
While Takedown raced exclusively in stakes company from his third race start, Petronius has taken more time but Moore said that’s been deliberate and believes the patience will pay off.
He had the tie-back operation, that proved so successful with Takedown, after his only unplaced run at Randwick back in December and is ready to realise his potential.
“You always hope being a colt by Redoute’s Choice, if we could knock a Group 1 with him as a colt it’d be special and he has been one of Mr Messara’s favourites since he was a foal,’’ Moore said.
“He can sustain a run, he just waits on the others a bit and when he comes under heavy pressure he can finds.”
Petronius, $6 with TAB, showed plenty of fight in winning second-up at Warwick Farm and Moore is confident enough he’ll handle the testing track conditions based on jockey Kerrin McEvoy’s view that the colt will appreciate “cut in the ground”.
Moore suspects he’ll be forced to take up the front-running role again but McEvoy is hoping something else is keen to take it up to give Petronius a target because he’s still learning the caper.
“He rolls around and can lose focus a bit. We might try to find a leader if it works out that way,’’ McEvoy said.
“He’s not going to win by big margins which makes me think he might be better with something to follow along and aim up at something.
“He’s one of those horses that is going to get fitter the further he gets into his prep because he’s quite a big horse.”
Petronius wins at Warwick Farm on May 13
Meanwhile, Moore said preparations are well underway for the training partnership with John Moore after he retires from Hong Kong on July 15.
While Hong Kong stars Aethero and Beauty Generation won’t be joining the partnership, Gary Moore said he can’t wait to team up with his brother for the first time since 1986.
“We’re starting now to get ready for when he comes back so it’ll be easy for brother John to blend in,’’ he said.
“He’s started to pump ideas into the stable on how we are going to work together.
“We have great support, Bon Ho has been wonderful, and hopefully we can do as well as what other partnerships have done.”