Cardinal Gem relishes the wet in Group 3 Victoria Handicap

Cardinal Gem ridden by Jordan Childs wins the Victoria Handicap at Sandown. (Photo by Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

The Grahame Begg-trained Cardinal Gem has run away with the Group 3 Victoria Handicap at Sandown in a truly dominant display.

The four-year-old gelding was sent out as a $3 favourite with online bookmakers and on the back of a genuine tempo, relished the speed in the race and conditions to salute by 2.25 lengths.

With Buffalo River and Callsign Mav cutting at each other throughout, the race was perfectly setup for a swooper to charge down the heart of the track and Cardinal Gem did just that, with Frankie Pinot and Lady Of Honour filling the placings in Saturday’s Group 3.

It was all honours the winner though, with Cardinal Gem showing his class with his first Group 3 success.

2023 Group 3 Victoria Handicap Replay – Cardinal Gem

Grahame Begg didn’t shy away when asked about his opinion on Cardinal Gem.

“I’ve always liked him a lot and I reckon there’s a decent race in him. I really reckon he can go on, maybe the Stradbroke; 1400, fast-run race,” said Begg, hinting at a potential tilt at the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.

“We picked this race out months ago, said, ‘this is his race’ and set him up beautifully today. His rating should go up and we’ll head to Brisbane.

“He won at Flemington at the Sunday meeting back in September with 60 kilos, he came from last and got over the top of them. That was a Heavy 10 that day, so he’s quite adept in all ground.

“I think he deserves a shot at one of those big races. It’s a $3 million race that Stradbroke and I think he’ll be well-suited in it.”

Jordan Childs continued his recent form with a well-timed steer aboard Cardinal Gem, bringing up a second win when paired with Begg’s runner.

“Early doors he was just getting himself in awkward spots by just doing a few things wrong, missing the kick and all that sort of stuff,” Childs said, echoing Begg’s thoughts on Cardinal Gem’s progression.

“But now, he’s a lot more professional, he jumps well, puts himself in good spots throughout the race.

“Today was probably the best that he’s actually settled for me. I know they went along a strong tempo, but they can have a tendency to get right on the bridle but today he was nice and relaxed and able to conserve that energy and use it for the last bit.”

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