The first group 1 of the NSW racing year maybe dominated by that man Chris Waller but beware the other Kiwi raider Roger James.
Waller has dominated the training ranks in these parts over the last couple of years and will start six runners in Saturday’s Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm.
Based at Rosehill Waller is out to win the race for a third straight year and this team is headed by Shoot Out which is out to defend the title.
Stablemate Danleigh, which won the 1600m event two years ago, is back for another shot while Waller will also saddle up Albert The Fat, Kelinni, Gatewood and Tougher Than Ever.
Leading Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman, who rode both of Waller’s Chipping Norton Stakes winners, is sticking to Shoot Out.
The TAB is even offering a market grouping all Waller horses together which leaves the James-trained group 1 winner Silent Achiever in the other team.
“What ever she does tomorrow she’ll be better for the run and she will appreciate a bit further,” James said yesterday.
A regular Kiwi raider James rarely goes without success when crossing the Tasman.
“I’m happy with her,” James said.
“She is a mare that doesn’t travel well but she has settled in this time better than ever.
“Last year she was coming to the end of her preparation, it is the way it is with our three-year-old program back home.
“The derby used to be run at Christmas time, now it is in March. It is not the way I like to bring my horses to Australia, I like them to arrive having had a special preparation.”
Silent Achiever won the New Zealand Derby last year under crack New Zealand jockey James McDonald who is now based in Sydney.
McDonald has had five rides on Silent Achiever for four wins and a second which augurs well for the mares prospects in the Chipping Norton Stakes.
“This year it has worked out quite different,” James said. “She has had the one run at home and has arrived in good order.”
As for the ultimate autumn goal James remains open to offers.
“I’m going to run off what she does tomorrow,” James said.
“There are races like the Ranvet and BMW over the longer distances but she is still in the Doncaster, we’ll keep our options open.”
By Craig Young