Accomplished NSW sprinter Victorem will start a Stradbroke Handicap campaign at Doomben.
Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham is hoping Victorem can become the next winner to live up to a strong form reference out of a recent barrier trial.
Victorem will be having his first run since finishing second in the Kosciuszko at Randwick in October in the Group Three BRC Sprint (1200m) at Doomben.
The gelding ran third in a Doomben trial behind Just Orm two weeks ago and it has turned out to be a strong guide.
Four of the horses who ran in the trial -Just Orm, Silvera, Totally Charmed and Sir Barnabus – have won at their next starts.
Graham said she had been thrilled with the trial and Victorem had done well since.
“It has turned out to be a very strong trial and hopefully he can be the next winner to come out of it,” Graham said.
Victorem is making his third trip to Brisbane which has been a happy hunting ground for the gelding.
In seven Brisbane starts he has won the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes and Listed Hinkler Quality as well as being minor placed in the Group Three George Moore Stakes, Listed Keith Noud Stakes and The Buffering.
As is the case with many of his rivals on Saturday, Victorem is headed to the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 6.
He is set to have his final lead up to the Stradbroke in the Group Two Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm on May 23.
The Stradbroke has always been on Graham’s radar for Victorem but her initial plans have been muddied by the coronavirus pandemic.
The winter carnival has been drastically reduced, meaning the lead-up options for the Stradbroke have been limited.
Graham said luckily Victorem liked Brisbane and seemed to be at home at both Doomben and Eagle Farm.
She won’t be in Brisbane on Saturday for the BRC Sprint because of coronavirus restrictions.
But she has been able to leave Victorem in Brisbane with her long-time friend and Eagle Farm trainer Barry Lockwood.
“I have known Barry for years and there is no one held in higher regard than him,” Graham said.
“To be able to leave Victorem with him is a big bonus. I am in constant contact to get updates from Barry.”
“I have a big team at Port Macquarie and it is not just a matter of popping up to Brisbane for the day. You have to self-isolate both ways.”
Graham said Victorem deserved his chance at a Group One race in the Stradbroke after being consistent throughout his career.
“He has been terrific for us and earned more than $1.1 million in prize money,” Graham said.
“Victorem is the best horse I have trained and it would be great if he gave us a Group One win.”
Top Brisbane jockey Brad Stewart is the new rider for Victorem.