Artorius Sets Sights on Ascot, Everest in 2023

Group 1 winner Artorius (Aus) (Flying Artie {Aus}) is set to make his first official start of 2023 back in Australia after spending much of last year in Europe in the G1 Canterbury S. at Royal Randwick on Mar. 4 and will target both a return to Royal Ascot and the G1 Everest S. at the end of the year, co-owner Newgate Farm’s Henry Field told TDN AusNZ.

Leading Hong Kong jockey Zac Purton will be aboard Artorius for the 1300m Canterbury S. in 10 days and will be riding in his native Australia for the first time since the 2018 G1 Melbourne Cup.

“Artorius is a very important horse to us,” Field said. “He has such an elite profile that we had to think outside the square rider-wise, and Zac is one of the dominant riders anywhere in the world right now. He’s probably as good a rider as there’s ever been in Hong Kong, and a very strong rider that we thought would suit Artorius nicely.”

Artorius placed third in the G1 Platinum Jubilee S. at Royal Ascot behind Naval Crown (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) last year with his connections eyeing a return in the 1200m event.

“As long as he’s going well and he’s healthy, that’s definitely the plan,” Field said. “He was unluckily beaten last year in the Platinum Jubilee when he was held up at a vital stage, and I think he can go back there. There’s no question he’s got the ability, and he’s more seasoned from the experience.

“First things first though, we’ll get through the Canterbury S. next week and it will be a hot race, by the sounds of it. There will be one or two star 3-year-olds in it, and then horses like Zaaki (GB) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}) and Artorius among it. It will be a hard race to win but we’ll be giving it a red-hot crack.”

Artorius, who also finished third in the G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket and unplaced in the G1 Arc Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in his last two starts of 2022, won a trial race at Warwick Farm last week in preparation for the Canterbury S.

“I’d say it will be very likely he’ll be retired to stud at the end of this season, but I do genuinely believe he is a horse with enough natural ability to win an Everest, so those conversations will be had with the ownership group,” Field said.

Artorius has not won a race since taking the 2021 G1 Blue Diamond S. but has placed in five Group 1s. His career line stands at 14-2-3-4, A$1,808,349.

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