With the bulk of his brightest talents in the spelling paddock following another successful Sydney autumn carnival, Chris Waller is shifting his focus to the feature races at the annual stand-alone Saturday meeting at Hawkesbury.
The champion trainer will have up to six runners in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) and a trio in the Hawkesbury Crown (1300m).
They may not be in his top echelon of gallopers, at least not yet, but Waller is just as driven to look after them and place them astutely.
“It’s a new tier of horse….and we’ve got that next wave of horses ready to go,” Waller said.
“They’re fringe horses, they’re not quite up to the (Sydney) carnival.
“But Australian racing, it’s 52 weeks a year, you don’t just have to crunch them. You can space their races, give them proper spells and they come back.”
Waller is still weighing up whether to split some of his milers between Hawkesbury and Queensland with four of his Gold Cup contingent – Skyman, Yonkers, Desert Icon and New Mandate – also paid up for the Tails Stakes (1615m) at Doomben.
Lord Ardmore will zero in on Hawkesbury from a good draw in barrier five, while emergency Bold Mac needs two more scratchings to gain a start in the Cup.
Waller regards Skyman, who won the Listed Bernborough Stakes in Queensland during the summer, and relatively recent English import New Mandate, as his leading Cup chances.
“New Mandate and Skyman are probably the two,” Waller said.
“Skyman is a fringe Hollindale Stakes horse and New Mandate has got a bit of upside.”
Waller’s American import Princess Grace, a multiple Group 1 placegetter overseas, has opened a $3.40 favourite for the Hawkesbury Crown after making an eye-catching local debut when third to Zapateo in the Sapphire Stakes (1200m).
She will be joined in the race by stablemate Written Beauty, who has been competitive in three runs this campaign without winning, and the resuming Sur La Mer, both $11 chances.
– RAS NewsWire