Chris Waller set for massive day at The Championships with ‘ladies’ set to rule
Hall of Fame trainer Chris Waller is optimistic his talented three-year-old fillies Hungry Heart and September Run can secure a feature race double at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Waller is hoping Hungry Heart can give his stable a fourth win in the Group 1 $1 million The Star ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) while September Run takes on the “boys” in the Group 2 $1 million Arrowfield 3yo Sprint (1200m).
Hungry Heart comes off a determined win over Oaks rival Harmony Rose in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes last start and Waller is adamant his filly won’t have an issue going out to 2400m.
“I have no concerns with Hungry Heart over the distance based on her last start win,’’ Waller said after the filly worked well at Rosehill yesterday morning.
“I loved the way she finished off from well back in the field beating the supposed track bias on the day. She ticked a lot of boxes there.
“She is by the great Frankel, he was just an elite racehorse and it is great to have his progeny here bringing that international flavour to an Australian Oaks.
“A truly run Oaks will see the best of Hungry Heart – the more pressure on in her races the better she seems to race.’’
Hungry Heart is challenging for Oaks favouritism at $5 while stablemate Signora Nera is at $19.
Waller withdrew brilliant filly September Run from the TJ Smith Stakes last week to keep her for the Arrowfield Sprint against her own age tomorrow.
“I think this race looks perfect for her,’’ Waller said of September Run which is the $3.20 favourite.
“She won the Coolmore Stud Stakes last spring but hasn’t had luck go her way this time.
“First-up she ran second to Nature Strip in the Lightning which was a tremendous run then she was a touch disappointing in the Newmarket.
“But she bounced back in the William Reid when she drew very wide. If she had a good draw I feel she would have been fighting out for first and second prizemoney but instead she ran fourth. She should be very hard to beat.’’
PARKER TURNS ATTENTION TO QE STAKES
Trainer Kerry Parker has pressed the “reset button” with his focus squarely on having Think It Over at his peak for the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Parker had Think It Over primed to run the race of his life in the Doncaster Mile last Saturday only for his stable star to be a late scratching on-course after sustaining some lacerations to his head and near-hind leg on the float trip from the trainer’s Kembla Grange stables.
It was a bitter blow for Parker as Think It Over, a last start winner of the George Ryder Stakes, had beaten the handicapper with only 52.5kg in the Doncaster.
Parker will never know how Think It Over would have fared last week but declared the five-year-old gelding is “fit and ready” for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“What happened last week was very disappointing but there is no point dwelling on it,’’ Parker said.
“He galloped in company on the course proper at Kembla earlier in the week and he worked really well. I’m happy with him going into Saturday’s race.’’
Think It Over has not raced for three weeks and must go straight to 2000m for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes which Parker described as “not ideal”.
“The plan was always if he ran well in the Doncaster we would back him up in the Queen Elizabeth,’’ Parker said.
“He’s missed that run now but it won’t really faze this horse. He’s an athlete, he’s very fit and clean-winded and it won’t be a drama going to 2000m.’’
The George Ryder goes down to the wire! Think It Over takes it in the shadow of the post and puts another Group 1 notch on @boss_glen's belt. pic.twitter.com/vkXqP1gvfs
Under the weight-for-age conditions of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Think It Over has 59kg, meetings the likes of Addeybb, Sir Dragonet and Mugatoo at level weights, and concedes Verry Elleegant 2kg.
But Parker has the knowledge that Think It Over is competitive at weight-for-age including his Craven Plate win over the Randwick 2000m course last spring.
“I’d much prefer to meet these good horses on a firm track as they are superior on wet ground,’’ Parker said.
“If my horse could finish top four I would be very happy.’’
Brenton Avdulla takes over as the rider of Think It Over with regular jockey Glen Boss sticking with Sir Dragonet.
“Before Think It Over resumed racing, I gave him a couple of barrier trials and with ‘Bossy’ in Melbourne Brenton went out of his way to ride the horse for me,’’ Parker said.
“So to reward him for that was terrific and he gets his chance back on the horse.’’
Parker has ruled out extending Think It Over’s autumn campaign to include the Brisbane carnival.
“He had a long preparation last spring and I want to give the horse a good break over winter,’’ Parker said.
“This race will give us a guide about what we can target with this horse in the spring.’’
Originally published asHungry Heart, September Run ready to reign at Randwick
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