Brayroan Begins Epsom Handicap Prep

Promising Zabeel gelding Brayroan is being tipped by their Sydney Trainer’s Premiership-leading trainer Chris Waller as a genuine Sydney Spring Carnival contender and will this Saturday begin their campaign that will hopefully culminate with an Epsom Handicap start.

Chris Waller

Chris Waller plans to target the 2011 Epsom Handicap with Brayroan who resumes at Rosehill on Saturday

Four-year-old Brayroan has started nine times to date for four wins and three minor placings, Waller giving the well-bred galloper their chance to further prove their potential when saddling them up in the $70,000 Sydney Banana Wholesalers Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens.

Having had a high opinion of Brayroan since they finally broke their maiden status six runs into their career at Kembla Grange last November, Waller is becoming more and more convinced that the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) is not outside of the horse’s ability.

“It is (the Epsom is the aim), without getting carried away, and he’ll take small steps towards it,” Waller confirmed.

Set to run on Saturday October 1 at Randwick Racecourse the 2011 Epsom Handicap is one of the premier Group 1 features of the Sydney Spring Carnival and was last year won by Queensland galloper Captain Sonador.

Waller knows, however, that there is a long way to go before Brayroan steps up to elite level company and before he gives him a “serious crack at a race like the Epsom.”

After their maiden win, Brayroan went on to secure three more victories on the trot in Sydney and remains unbeaten since.

Their latest run was over the Randwick mile, Brayroan easily accounting for their rivals in a Benchmark 57 handicap beating runner-up Our Boy Lukas by nearly two lengths on January 8.

The horse will now look to show they have lost none of their shine over their five and a half month spell, everything in Brayroan’s corner for Saturday’s first-up test.

Set to be ridden by ace South African-born hoop Glyn Schofield, Brayroan is also drawn ideally in barrier three explaining their early favouritism in the markets for the closing race at Rosehill on Saturday.

Although without a race start since January, Waller has given Brayroan a couple of hitouts at Warwick Farm (800m) and Rosehill (1030m) earlier this month, that although they ran fifth and seventh in, gave their trainer just enough to suggest they are ready to resume.

“He’s a typical Zabeel horse that has continued to mature and I think he’s in for a pretty good preparation,” Waller said.

Waller is no stranger to the Epsom spring showdown having come within a nose of winning the 2009 edition with one of his stable favourites Rangirangdoo who was narrowly defeated by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Rock Kingdom.

The dedicated horseman admits the path they plan to send Brayroan down will be similar to the one Rangirangdoo travelled on way to his Epsom Handicap run two years ago.

“We did a similar thing with Rangirangdoo a couple of years ago, we spaced his runs and ran him when the time was right and he just got beaten a nose in the Epsom that year before going to Melbourne to win a good race (the Group 2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley),” Waller said.

“We’ll try and follow a similar path (with Brayroan).”