Past the Post: Laurie's Love takes out Canberra's horse of the year award

A second place finish for Laurie's Love at the last meeting at Thoroughbred Park was enough to secure the Mike Petrovic-trained galloper the Canberra horse-of-the-year award.

Petrovic decided he would primarily race Laurie's Love at Thoroughbred Park this season to give him the best possible chance of winning the prestigious crown.

"I've had some handy horses over the years, but I've always taken them to town to win races there, and never concentrated on Canberra," Petrovic said.

"I've been racing horses at Canberra for such a long time, and I haven't achieved anything like that, so I set out to do it and when it happens you just open up another bottle of wine."

Petrovic is a part-owner of Laurie's Love and had to work hard to convince two good friends to also be in the syndicate.

It took him more than a decade to convince them to take the plunge into horse ownership, and their decision to be co-owners of Laurie's Love has seen them take a share in more than $100,000 in prizemoney.

"It's great for the Miras – Michael and his wife, Vivian," Petrovic said. "I had been working on them for 10 or 15 years to buy a share in a racehorse.

"That's the first time they've been in horse ownership, so it's been great for them that the horse has been successful."

Laurie's Love has had nine starts this season at Thoroughbred Park and has saluted  four times with a further two places.

The four-year-old scored three successive victories at Canberra earlier in the season, and was the victor in the Canberra Cup prelude, but Petrovic rated one effort better than all those runs.

"The highlight? You wouldn't believe it, but it was his run in the Canberra Cup," the Queanbeyan-based trainer said.

Laurie's Love finished the $200,000 listed Cup more than five-lengths off the winner in sixth place in March.

The Shaft gelding was not a serious threat to winner Jacquinot Bay, but the fact he beat home half the field gave Petrovic a lot of satisfaction as many pundits believed Laurie's Love would not last the 2000 metres.

"I race horses for a bit of a challenge, and some of the senior jockeys that had ridden him said that he can't stay, and I proved them wrong," he said.

"I'm really pleased with the horse and I've got a lot of opinion of him."

Petrovic plans on aiming Laurie's Love at the Canberra Cup again next year and believes the four-year-old has the ability to give him his first win in it.

"I wanna win the Canberra Cup," Petrovic said. "His whole preparation (last time in) was for the Canberra Cup, and I also had the Canberra horse of the year in mind, too."

Petrovic intends on giving Laurie's Love the chance to finish this season at Canberra on a high, with a likely tilt at the feature Flying Handicap (1200 metres) this Friday.

This story Past the Post: Laurie's Love takes out Canberra's horse of the year award first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.