From Grafton to Melbourne Cup for The Verminator

Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller will begin an ambitions Melbourne Cup campaign with his emerging stayer The Verminator, starting with next month’s Grafton Cup.

Chris Waller

Chris Waller is preparing The Verminator for a tilt at the Grafton Cup - Melbourne Cup double

A winner of five of their 18 career starts to date, Jeune four-year-old The Verminator has proven to connections they have the potential to develop into a Group horse, Waller to further test these claims saddling the horse up in the $160,000 Grafton Cup (2300m) on July 14.

“He’s definitely coming to Grafton,” Waller confirmed.

“The Grafton Cup looks a nice race for him.”

Waller, who last weekend became just the fifth trainer in history to prepare 100 or more city winners in a single Sydney racing season, hopes the Grafton Cup will be a stepping stone towards The Verminator making their way into the field for the world’s richest handicap.

Running on the first Tuesday of November, Flemington’s $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) is the showcase race of the annual Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and is a potential target for The Verminator.

“He’ll be turned out after that (the Grafton Cup) and trained for the Melbourne Cup,” Waller said.

Last Saturday The Verminator won a 2000 metre Benchmark 85 at Rosehill with Damien Oliver in the mount, which was their second win on the trot, earning them their debut stakes assignment in the Grafton Cup.

Waller has offered champion hoop Glyn Schofield, well-known for his association with the John McNair-trained Hay List, the Grafton Cup mount on The Verminator.

Dehere gelding Bellagio Wynn is Waller’s only previous Grafton Cup runner, the horse finishing eighth behind Castle Heights back in 2009.

If The Verminator does live up to Waller’s elaborate ambitions, they will become just the second horse in history to complete the Grafton Cup – Melbourne Cup double joining the Les Bridge-trained Kensei who achieved the rare feat back in 1987.

The Verminator certainly has the breeding to suggest the deed is attainable, being a son of 1984 Melbourne Cup winner Jeune from mare Fraar Side, a daughter of 1993 Caulfield Cup winner Fraar.

“He’s a young horse on the way up, developing,” Waller said.

“I’m happy with where he’s at.

“He’s struck some good form again.”