Alexiou out to engineer a Group One upset

Sterling Alexiou had already served one apprenticeship when he moved to Sydney eight years ago to work for trainer Gerald Ryan.

But he was more than happy to undertake another and on Saturday at Rosehill, the 33-year-old will achieve a significant milestone with his first Group One runner as a fully-fledged trainer.

Alexiou was academic at school and had dreams of becoming a civil engineer but a few months into his university course, he knew it wasn’t for him.

He took a break and completed an apprenticeship as a plumber and gas fitter while he worked out what to do with his life.

He had always had an interest in racing and Brisbane trainer Gillian Heinrich and her husband Hoss were family friends, so Alexiou began tagging along to the yearling sales.

“They were probably the gateway to me getting involved with racehorses,” Alexiou said.

“If it hadn’t been for me following Gillian and her yearling selector at the time, I probably would have been happy just having a punt on a Saturday.”

Having dreamed of designing major infrastructure projects, Alexiou started to harbour ambitions to build a career in racing.

He worked under Heinrich for two years and met Ryan when the Sydney trainer travelled horses to Queensland.

When an opportunity arose to become Ryan’s stable foreman, Alexiou grabbed it.

So began his second apprenticeship and at the start of this season, he graduated to become Ryan’s training partner.

On Saturday, Peltzer will become the team’s first Group One runner in the $1 million Golden Rose.

Unbeaten as a two-year-old, the colt followed a first-up second to runaway winner Anders in the Rosebud with a last-start fourth to Rothfire in a hectic The Run To The Rose.

Saturday’s 1400 metre race is expected to be run at a kinder tempo and Alexiou says that will allow Peltzer to travel in his comfort zone.

“Rothfire looks very hard to beat but he still has to reproduce that run the other day and it’s not always easy for them to do,” he said.

“I’m not saying he can’t, but there are some very nice horses behind him if he doesn’t happen to run up to what he did.”

While a career milestone looms, Alexiou is keeping his feet on the ground.

Less than 24 hours before Peltzer’s Golden Rose bid, the young trainer was in Goulburn to saddle up their four runners and that was after a busy morning at the stable.

“It’s super hard work,” Alexiou said.

“But there is not one day I get out of bed and think twice about going to work.”