Melbourne Cup-bound Sertorius will have to overcome a wide gate and the top weight if he is to add his home track Cup to his two Geelong Horse Of The Year crowns.
The champion of his home town for the past two years, Sertorius will be trainer Jamie Edwards’ first Geelong Cup starter on Wednesday when he carries 58kg in the $300,000 feature over 2400 metres.
A race won in modern times by internationals Media Puzzle (2002), Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) on their way to Melbourne Cup glory, this year’s Cup is without an overseas-trained runner.
Edwards is aiming Sertorius at the Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 4 but is excited about the prospect of a win in his home town where he has trained for the past 13 years.
“It’s just good for Geelong to have a local horse in the Cup, and a horse that’s going to be competitive,” Edwards said.
Sertorius missed the Turnbull Stakes with a cough and Edwards had to rearrange the stayer’s program to take in the Caulfield Stakes where he finished ninth.
Edwards, who trains in partnership with Bruce Elkington, thought the Geelong Cup was a better fit for Sertorius than Saturday’s Caulfield Cup.
“He’s in good condition. He’s obviously on a Melbourne Cup preparation this time in so this is his main lead-up into that,” he said.
“Fourth-up over a mile-and-a-half is exactly where we wanted to have him and that’s where we are.”
Sertorius has drawn gate 11 in the 13-horse Geelong Cup field.
Edwards said Sertorius was more relaxed this campaign after his Sydney Cup third in the autumn and appeared more dour.
But he still expects him to be a force on Wednesday.
“He’s been racing against the absolute top shelf horses, certainly through the autumn and this spring,” he said.
“It’s a step down but he’s giving everything at least three or four kilos in weight, so he’s going to have to carry top weight and come from a wide barrier to win.
“But 2400 metres seems to be his go, so there’s plenty of ticks.”
Last year’s New Zealand Oaks winner More Than Sacred, runner-up to Mourinho in the Cranbourne Cup at her second start for Caulfield trainer Robert Smerdon, is the $4.20 favourite with the TAB ahead of import Marksmanship ($4.60) with Sertorius firming to $6 after opening at $8 on Monday.
Caravan Rolls On, winner of last year’s Sandown Cup (3200m) at Caulfield, is at $7.50.