Randwick’s autumn racing queen Gai Waterhouse has two hopes of adding a second Sydney Cup jewel to her crown thanks to jockey Glen Boss taking the ride on in-form mare Older Than Time in the Group 1 two-miler.
Earlier in the week connections of four-year-old Don Eduardo mare Older Than Time, owned by Gooree Pastoral Company Syndicate, expressed their concerns of trying the stakes winner over the two miles of Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
However with champion hoop Glen Boss committing himself for the ride on Older Than Time in the Sydney Cup, and a little persuasion from Waterhouse, she now has two livewire chances of securing her second Sydney Cup trophy.
“If she (Older Than Time) can run a place in a race like this, it means it isn’t the hurry-up stakes when I bring her back in for the spring and Caulfield and Melbourne Cups,” Waterhouse said.
“It is such an advantage to run now and with Glen Boss in the saddle I think she is an outstanding chance.
“It will season her and give us an idea if she will be a Cup horse or just short of it.”
Older Than Time won their first four starts this season including their gritty victory over former Macau Horse of the Year Luen Yat Forever in the Listed Sky High Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill on March 19.
Last start they suffered their first loss of the season when two and a half lengths away fourth to Group 1 winning stablemate Once Were Wild in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on Derby Day.
It has been a relatively quiet Randwick Autumn Carnival for Sydney’s leading lady of racing this year.
Since taking out her training licence nearly two decades ago, Waterhouse has enjoyed training 104 Group 1 winners, 58 of which have been at Randwick and 30 during the Easter carnival meetings.
“It’s a bit handy that (record), isn’t it?” Waterhosue said.
“Training on the track helps because the horses get to know every part of the track.”
Waterhouse’s glamour mare More Joyous failed to take out the Doncaster Mile last weekend, the beaten favourite finishing 11th to Sacred Choice, meaning Gai’s sole Group victory at Randwick this autumn was fellow Sydney Cup hopeful Once Were Wild in the Chairman’s Handicap.
“We have had a good carnival but it’s been quiet (at Randwick) and last Saturday changed the dynamics of it,” Waterhouse said.
“When rain came our hopes were washed away, which was disappointing.
“It means there is a bit of pressure on Saturday but I think I have two excellent chances going to the races.”
Four-year-old Johannesburg mare Once Were Wild was being considered for retirement having failed to impress earlier this prep.
Owner John Singleton was so certain she was ready to leave racing and start a career as a broodmare he had Once Were Wild entered in the National Broodmare Sale catalogue for June.
But retirement plans were shelved and the Sydney Cup came back on the table when Once Were Wild stormed home for an impressive all-the-way win in the Chairman’s on April 9.
“Now that she has hit her hobbles I think we will see a very good horse in the Cup,” Waterhouse said of Once Were Wild.
Once Were Wild hadn’t won since her huge victory over Faint Perfume in the Group 1 AJC Oaks at Randwick last April.
“Once she got over the right distance and the race was run a little bit like she wanted, it was a different mare,” Waterhouse said.
“She is back in the zone and Nash (Rawiller) has been very happy with her since.”
On Saturday Once Were Wild is due to jump from the far outside barrier in the 16-horse plus one emergency Sydney Cup field with Nash Rawiller aboard and is currently rated a $7.50 chance.
The rejuvenated mare has plenty of admirers too including valued track observer Craig Tompson.
“Her work has been very dour for a long time,” Tompson said of Once Were Wild.
“Gai has got this horse as fit as possible, she is ready to win a two-mile race.”
Meanwhile, Older Than Time has drawn barrier 10 with Boss seeking his second Sydney Cup winning ride having been aboard the mighty Makybe Diva for her victory in 2004.
Sydney Cup markets have Older Than Time installed as a $21 outsider.
Waterhouse’s only Sydney Cup success to date was back in 1997 with Linesman.
Along with the Sydney Cup three other Group 1 showdowns will run at Randwick on Saturday, but Waterhouse does not have a runner in the Champagne Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes or the All Aged Stakes this year.