Praecereus recorded his first win this preparation with a strong finishing effort over 1606m at Benalla on Sunday.
Sent out a strong each-way chance on the third line of betting, promising apprentice Beau Mertens positioned Praecereus in behind the leaders on a genuine tempo. Allowed plenty of space with no horses crowding him for room, Mertens was able to have Praecereus in a lovely rhythm and poised to pounce when the leaders invariably tired. Taking the lead as the field straightened for home, Praecereus was able to hold off the fast-finishing favourite, Vantaggio, to record a confidence boosting win.
Praecereus, as a full-brother to our QLD-Derby winner Brambles, has always shown ability. He has recorded a win in each of his last three race preparations and, as a maturing four-year-old, appears now to have the strength required to finish off his races and fulfil that early potential. Brambles was a daring front-runner and it would not surprise to see a fully-furnished Praecereus attempt those tactics at some point in the future.
Full credit must go to Beau Mertens, who rode Praecereus to perfection on Sunday. This win brought up a winning treble on the Benalla card, following on from a city double at Flemington the day before. He is establishing a strong record with the Darren Weir stable and looks set to have a long career in the saddle ahead of him.