Horse Racing
Waller poised for another Group One success

26/09/2017 17:06

Sydney’s dominant trainer Chris Waller has quantity and quality and Joao Moreira on his side with nine runners in two of the three Group 1 races at Randwick, on Saturday, which form part of a six race simulcast program from the Sydney venue.

However, it may not be all ‘plain sailing’ for the former New Zealander who’s been the champion Group 1 trainer in each of the past five seasons with an aggregate of 55 wins at the top level in that time.

Waller, also champion trainer by winners in each of the past six seasons in Sydney, has to await a veterinary clearance for his high class mare Egg Tart who was twice a Group 1 winner last season but is battling to overcome an eye irritation.

Egg Tart (barrier one) is one of five Waller trained acceptors for the AUS$1 million G1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in which she’s joined by stablemates McCreery (gate seven) and Comin’ Through, Tom Melbourne and Foxplay who’ve drawn the three outside gates in the field of 14. Waller’s quartet in the AUS$750,000 G1 The Metropolitan (2400m) will be well fancied in the betting – Libran, Who Shot Thebarman, Antonio Giuseppe and Life Less Ordinary.

Egg Tart was today assessed by Racing NSW’s vet Dr Craig Suann who said: “as the irritation presents at this time the mare is not suitable to race this Saturday and accordingly would require further improvement to take its place in the Epsom.”

Dr Suann will inspect Egg Tart again tomorrow and Waller remains optimistic that she will take her place. “She’s responded to treatment and missed no work with the eye issue,” he said.

Moreira takes the Epsom ride on Waller’s four-year-old Comin’ Through who is unbeaten in two runs this season. “I’d have preferred him to draw in but it looks the right sort of race for him with ‘no’ weight and Joao (Moreira) on board,” Waller said.

In Comin’ Through’s favour is that seven of the past ten Epsom winners have drawn barrier ten or wider and that horses his age, four, have won seven of the past ten editions of the race.

Waller won the Epsom three years straight from 2013 and combined with Moreira to win it 2014 with He’s Your Man.

Among the hardest to beat will be the Patrick Webster trained top-weight Happy Clapper who beat all but Winx, the World’s highest rated turf performer, at his most recent run over the same course and distance.

He’ll be ridden by Blake Shinn who celebrates his 30th birthday today and who previously won the Epsom in 2009 on Rock Kingdom. “That’s as good as you could hope for,” Shinn said of Happy Clapper drawing barrier four.

“He ran really well last start. He gave Winx a real test. It was a real career-best performance on his behalf. If he can reproduce that, with even luck, he’d go close to winning,” Shinn said.

Moreira rides, in The Metropolitan, the Waller trained Antonio Giuseppe who was runner-up in the race last year. He’s handicapped on 120lb and 24 of the past 30 winners of the race have carried less than 121lb.

Tommy Berry also flies in from Hong Kong to ride the Waller trained McCreery, who finished well when fourth to Winx in the G1 George Main Stakes (1600m), in the Epsom.

The ground is expected to be good. The forecast is for ‘mostly sunny’ weather in Sydney for the rest of the week.