Waller Eyes Ranvet For High Priced Import’s Aussie Debut

The covers will likely come off high priced import Via Sistina in Saturday week’s Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) as trainer Chris Waller plots a path forged by William Haggas with success in recent years.

Charlie Duckworth, Waller’s assistant trainer, was at Canterbury on Tuesday to oversee the six-year-old’s progress in quarantine before she arrives at the Rosehill stables this weekend.

Via Sistina set Yulong back $5.4 million at last year’s Tattersall’s December sale, the same sale ring she left as a yearling for just over $10,000, and she brings a similar pattern to Australia that Haggas’ dual Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Addeybb did in 2020 and 2021.

“She’s an exciting prospect to have in our team and she’s the real deal, she’s a Group 1 winner and aimed at Group 1 targets through the autumn,’’ Duckworth said.

“She’s come over here nice and fit, James Ferguson did a fantastic job preparing her prior to sending her down as he did with the Yulong horses for us last year so it’s a tried and tested path.

“It’s not an easy path to plot but Addeybb, both times before he came down to duel with Verry Elleegant, ran in the Champions Stakes at Ascot which is the race she ran second in at her last start.”

The mare, previously trained by George Boughey, has won five of her 13 starts highlighted by the Group 1 Pretty Polly (2011m) in July and she’s been Group 1 placed in three subsequent starts.

That second in the Champions Stakes back in October is the latest of those.

Duckworth said everything he’s seen in quarantine since her arrival has been positive which is a promising sign given she’ll be facing the best Australia can offer in the Ranvet and potentially the Group 1 $5 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

“She’s been completely bombproof in terms of her attitude toward work and I think that will take her a long way,’’ he said.

“We think she has adapted well but we won’t really know until the pressure is applied.

“Her form is slightly better on a wet track but we know what Sydney autumn can throw up.”

The Haggas representation in 2024 comprises just one horse, Sydney Cup hopeful Post Impressionist, after plans for Dubai Honour and Mutjaba had to be changed due to setbacks.

Travelling stable rep Isabella Paul said Post Impressionist is set to make his local debut in the Manion Cup (2400m) on Golden Slipper Day, a race the stable has won twice with Favorite Moon and Young Rascal.

“For a horse that hasn’t done a lot of travelling, Post Impressionist has travelled down remarkably well and settled into the routine of things very nicely,’’ Paul said.

“He has a similar profile to the likes of Favorite Moon, he’s an older gelding with a good temperament.

“He should stay a Sydney Cup trip quite nicely so it makes him ideal to come down and have a go.

“One of the beautiful things about him is he’s not ground dependant, he’ll go on anything.”

The five-year-old has just 50kg in the Sydney Cup and in a sign of respect to Haggas is $8 equal favourite in TAB’s all-in market alongside recent Parramatta Cup winner More Felons.

He won a 2816m handicap with Tom Marquand in the saddle at Haydock back in September after finishing better than midfield in the Ebor Handicap at York.

“He’s not quite to the same standard as a Dubai Honour or Addeybb but we’re hopeful for a couple of big runs from him,’’ Paul said.

“We’ll have to wait and see but I’m very happy with him for the moment and fingers crossed for a couple of big runs.”

– Racing NSW

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