The special bond that can exist between a racehorse and its trainer is well exemplified by the relationship Jenny Graham has with her warhorse Victorem.
Graham gets emotional just talking about Victorem, as she did when asked about her Stradbroke Handicap contender at the big race barrier draw on Tuesday.
“I love Victorem,” said Graham with feeling. “He means so much, especially for the stable … and for my daughter.
“It’s amazing to have Victorem in the Stradbroke. I can’t even explain how it feels,” said Graham.
“We thought his last run (in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup) was a great run. He got held up in the final stages and I felt that, once he got out, he did finish it off lovely where he was doing his best work.
“He pulled up great from that race and his work has been good, so I am very happy with him.
‘I really do think that he will be at his top on Saturday. His work (on Tuesday) was very encouraging.”
A further positive point to note is that Victorem has a successful history in terms of his participation in the Queensland winter Carnival having saluted in each of the past two years.
In 2019 Victorem won the Listed Hinkler Handicap and, in 2020, he won the Group 2 Victory Stakes … both at Eagle Farm.
Throw some of his other results over time into the mix … such as his victory in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes and a number of superb runs in which he has ran second or third, from Listed to Group 3 company … and it is clear that the apple of Graham’s eye is certainly not here to merely make up the numbers.
Victorem has won previously over the Stradbroke distance. He has only finished out of the placings once in five goes at Eagle Farm and his overall record of eight wins, and eight places, from twenty-four starts, with over $1.3 million earned in prize-money, stands as testimony to both the horse’s resilience and honest level of consistent performance … and his trainer’s expertise.
On Saturday, Graham and Victorem will, in their own way, also be representing Port Macquarie, where they are based.
You can only imagine how the Port Macquarie racing fraternity will go off if Victorem is first across the line.