Artorius firmed in Blue Diamond betting after his brilliant Sandown win but the promising youngster is far from certain of tackling next month’s $1.5 million event.
Artorius firmed from $51 to $15 in the Blue Diamond market after cruising to a 4½ length win in the Ladbrokes Switch Handicap (1300m) at only his second start.
Co-trainer Sam Freedman and jockey Mark Zahra agreed Artorius might be better suited to races over 1400m and further rather than the 1200m of the Blue Diamond.
“We’ll just have to work out where we go,” Freedman said.
“Whether we head towards a Blue Diamond, I’m not sure about the 1200m. He might be more of a 1400m horse.
“He won so well there so we might have to give it some thought.”
Artorius was backed to start as a $3.40 favourite but his supporters had no concerns once the son of Flying Artie hit top gear at the 300m.
The John McArdle-trained El Rocko ($16) stuck to his task to hold second spot on debut, a nose ahead of the Godolphin runner Picarones ($4.40).
Zahra said Artorius had plenty to learn despite the ease of his Sandown win, which followed a promising debut second at Geelong on January 7.
“Watching his last start and today, he’s quite dumb,” Zahra said.
“Usually I wait a bit longer but with a dumb horse I really wanted to stand over him and make him go. I went for him and he let rip all right.
“The way he put them away over 1300 metres, and was out by himself a fair way out from the line, he’s a horse with a future who can handle a step up in trip.”
Artorius’ sire Flying Artie ran second to Extreme Choice in the 2016 Blue Diamond and third in that year’s Golden Slipper before returning as three-year-old to win the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington.
Adelaide raider gives rivals the Slip
Will Clarken’s precise raid on Melbourne paid off when Second Slip maintained his unbeaten record in Australia at Sandown.
The Adelaide trainer was keen to run Second Slip in Melbourne over the weekend. He scratched the former Kiwi galloper from The Valley on Friday night to tackle the Ladbrokes Back Yourself Handicap (1300m).
Clarken made the right decision as Second Slip proved too strong in the Benchmark 78 contest. Former champion Adelaide jockey, now Melbourne premiership leader, Jamie Kah steered the $3.50 favourite to victory by three-quarters of a length.
Second Slip’s Sandown success came at his second start for Clarken after the son of Alamosa scored at his Australian debut on January 9.
Second Slip had 12 starts in New Zealand before heading to Clarken’s stable. The trainer said he has had to be careful placing the gelding, but his future probably lied in Adelaide as he matures.
“I think he’s going to be a good Adelaide horse so I’m not getting too ambitious right now,” Clarken said.
“He’s very raw, robust and very sound. He’s like a lot of the horses we get from New Zealand, they’re like babies even though they’ve had some race experience.
“We won’t be rushing anything with him.”
Kah’s win on Second Slip was the latest in a long line of victories for the pair, who also combined to good effect in Adelaide before the jockey made the move to Victoria.
She said Clarken’s main strength was not burdening his jockeys with too many pre-race instructions.
“Will’s great to ride for because he doesn’t really tell you much which doesn’t confuse your head with too many things,” Kah said.
“He was very keen on his (Second Slip’s) chances today and he was pretty vocal about the reason he took him over here and he thought he’d be competitive enough to win.”
Triton Rising ($7.50) finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Imperial Lad ($4).