Overlord, a regally bred $2 million eventual Waller discard named after the World War II Normandy invasion, has trialled to suggest he still has enough in waning times to conquer the country Class 3 opposition in Saturday’s TAB Highway at Royal Randwick.
An unprecedented 63.5kg in the series for the Red Tracer protégé by Sebring has been offset by Bathurst training doyen Gayna Williams claiming a maximum 3kg with rising apprentice Jake Barrett.
For a 1200m, $120,000 episode, Overlord ($13 on TAB) a Highway winner last prep, trialled impressively enough at Orange (1100m) three weeks ago, significantly for senior jockey Michael Heagney to suggest despite the impost, he’s still good enough at rising seven for this grade.
And Overlord did win a Rosehill Gardens Highway with 58kg after a 3kg claim for Hannah Willliams last August.
And significantly Overlord’s best form is fresh-winning twice first-up and placings. Also key opponents are drawn wide.
“Michael got off him after the trial and said he really got through the line nicely, not really extended, he’s won twice first-up, he’s where we want him with a good gate on Saturday,” Gayna explained.
The gelding clocked 59.59 over the 1100m Orange barrier trial.
“We booked Jake because I like young riders in form and confident; Hannah did have a prior engagement in the same race.”
Barrett has ridden 20+ winners so far this season, including a brilliant front running ride at Royal Randwick in late December on Belleistic Kids, well noted by Gayna.
“Apart from Jake’s form and claim, drawing an inside gate was really important first-up. If we’d have drawn out with that weight we’d have looked for something else.
“But we’re coming while he’s eligible. He’s not a Country Championships horse at this stage of his career, I wish, but he’s had too many starts.
“Not near as good as Mum,” Gayna quipped.
One of the finest mares of her era, Red Tracer won a Group I, several Group 2 and 3s, along with $2 million plus in prizemoney.
However, it’s not uncommon scenario with greats whose progeny are a racing planet away.
After showing promise at two and three years and ridden by James McDonald and Hugh Bowman, Overlords’ form declined but Gayna has found his niche late in his career.
The Matt Dale-trained Acappella Sun is the TAB Highway $4.60 favourite ahead of Swift Charm at $5.50.
– Racing NSW