Whole lot to love

HE’S been literally unbeatable at Canberra this preparation.

And now Queanbeyan trainer Mike Petrovic is aiming four-year-old Laurie’s Love at one of the jewels in the capital’s racing crown – Sunday’s $200,000 Canberra Cup.

Laurie’s Love will be the only Queanbeyan contender to jump in the Cup, Canberra’s second richest race after the marquee Black Opal.

“He’s been excellent this preparation, you couldn’t ask for any more,” Petrovic said of his charger’s strong recent form. “I think he was pretty convincing last start in Canberra as well because there was a bit of depth in that race.

“If he’d beaten a weaker field then I’d have maybe given the Canberra Cup a miss this time around because he’ll mature into a better horse next year.

“But I thought that was a good field he beat last time so we’ll give him a shot again. I wouldn’t start him if I didn’t give him a good chance of winning it.”

Laurie’s Love has won his past three starts at Canberra since returning from a spell last December. Last month also saw the gelding claim the $35,000 Bega Cup over 1600m.

The one black mark on Laurie’s Love’s most recent campaign has been his inability to stand up in town having failed to make an impression in two runs at Kensington.

But Petrovic said the gelding’s poor showings in Sydney had more to do with an inability to handle the trip up the highway than finding himself overmatched on the track.

“I’ve been struggling to win one in town with him and I really wanted him to win one up there before I attempted a race like [the Black Opal],” Petrovic said. “He just doesn’t take the trip up too well.

“But I think he likes the Canberra track and you don’t get a horse to do what he’s done this preparation that often so I’d like to give it a try.”

Petrovic has trained Laurie’s Love since the son of Shaft was passed in at the Inglis Sales in 2011. He has since gone on to amass over $100,000 in prize money including more than $50,000 in his most recent preparation alone.

 “I went up to Cooma and had a look at him in the paddock after the sales and you were never going to buy him on looks,” Petrovic said.

“But I thought he was a horse I could build into something and I’ve always had an opinion of him.” 

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