Victorem was at his scintillating best for Port Macquarie based trainer Jenny Graham, unleashing a blistering turn of foot to win the Listed TAB Lough Neagh Stakes.
The lightly-raced gelding had been placed in his last two starts at Doomben, but a combination of bad gates and a lack of tempo didn’t allow him to show his best.
Graham said today was the perfect storm with a helpful barrier draw and a peach of a ride from Dale Smith giving the four-year-old every chance.
“The race plan panned out exactly as we had hoped,” Graham said.
“He’s not the quickest early and Dale had to give him a little bit of encouragement to get going, but once he found his spot he settled into his stride nicely.
“It was lovely to watch once he settled, even though he was behind the leader I was always pretty confident he’d get out.”
With a black-type win under his belt Graham said she would keep the gelding in Brisbane with the hope of another listed win.
“We’ll head to the Buffering with him in a fortnight,” she said.
“We always wanted to go there but after today it looks an ideal race for him."
Victorem has been staying at Barry Lockwood’s Eagle Farm stable throughout his Summer tilt..
“I can’t thank Barry (Lockwood) and his staff enough for looking after us while we’ve had him up here, everything has been first class," Graham said.
Hoop Dale Smith said he wanted to take luck out of the equation this week, utilising gate three to put Victorem in the box seat.
“I wanted to be a bit closer this week and gate three gave us the chance to get him into his rhythm and he settled perfectly,” Smith said
“I knew if I could just hold my spot his turn of foot would be too good for them.
“With the tempo of the races the last couple of weeks he hasn’t got the opportunity to show what he’s capable of, but I’m A Rippa set it up nicely for us today.”
A former Victorian, Smith has been in a purple patch of form since his move North and thanked the Queensland racing community for the opportunities he’s been given.
“I’ve had such great support from everyone since I’ve made the move up here, everyone is so humble,” he said
“To get this chance to ride horses like this one you just love being a part of the journey.”