Sydney’s premiership winning trainer Chris Waller proved his enthusiasm heading towards the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival nominating a large number of horses for the 2011 Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate yesterday, the dedicated horseman especially keen to kick off the spring campaigns of his 2011 Melbourne Cup-bound gallopers including Stand To Gain.
“It’s easily the most I’ve entered,” Waller said in regards to the number of gallopers he nominated for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate 2011 yesterday.
“Obviously a lot can happen between now and the races but you’ve got to put them in.”
Waller entered 14 horses for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 and 10 for the lucrative $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Among his feature Melbourne Group 1 hopefuls are his former Queen-owned import My Kingdom Of Fife, Epsom Handicap-bound Brayroan, Cox Plate hopeful Pressday, Sydney Cup winner Stand To Gain and Hawk Wing gelding Hawk Island.
After impressing in track work yesterday, Domesday four-year-old Pressday is likely to kick off their spring preparation this weekend in the $125,000 Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick as they head towards a start in the weight-for-age Cox Plate.
“He worked very well this morning….it was the first time I’ve been happy with him this time in,” Waller said about 2010 TJ Smith winner Pressday on Tuesday.
“It was noticeable he was a lot more settled and relaxed and he finished his work off nicely.”
While the Cox Plate would be a very nice title to take out, Waller has his eyes on the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Running as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 1, the 2011 Emirates Melbourne Cup nominations will be taken on September 1.
Two horses on the Melbourne Cup path for Waller this year are Stand To Gain and Hawk Island who both trialled at Rosehill on Tuesday.
Hawk Island hasn’t been seen on the track since his fall in the Sydney Cup, won by stablemate Stand To Gain, in April.
“When he fell, he did hurt his back but that was nothing a bit of time and chiropractic manipulation couldn’t fix,” Waller explained.
A multiple stakes winner and Group 1 placegetter, Hawk Island ran last in the opening four-horse heat over 1030 metres yesterday, but is well on their way to resuming according to Waller who indicated the $175,000 Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on August 20 as a possible first-up run.
“Hawk Island needs a bit of ‘mileage’ so he will return in the Warwick Stakes,” Waller said.
“He will be third-up for the Hill Stakes and then we will pick a path to the Cups.”
The $200,000 Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) runs at Randwick on September 17.
Stand To Gain also finished fourth of fourth in their 1030 metre heat, Waller also represented in the trial by another Cup contender Syreon who finished second.
Five-year-old Stand To Gain is out to become just the third horse in history to win the Sydney Cup – Melbourne Cup double in a single season joining Carbine (1890) and the mighty Makybe Diva (2004).
“Stand To Gain has a great bunch of owners but we are all realistic – we know he can only win a Melbourne Cup on a wet track and if he improves on his Sydney Cup win,” Waller said.
Waller named the $175,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 3 as a likely resuming race for Stand To Gain despite it being run under weight-for-age conditions.
“Stand To Gain is not a weight-for-age horse by any means but the Chelmsford is a nice starting point for him,” Waller said.