Back-to-back Sydney Premiership winning trainer Chris Waller is preparing to trial two new additions to his stables with Albert The Fat and the 2011 Melbourne Cup-bound Illustrious Blue both to appear at the Warwick Farm heats on Friday.
Waller has a contingent of around 13 stayers preparing for the riches of the iconic $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), to run at Flemington on November 1, including the former David Payne-trained import Illustrious Blue.
The veteran eight-year-old was last seen running dead last, beaten over 16 lengths by the recently departed Cedarberg in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill back in April.
Illustrious Blue has in fact failed to win a race since his Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3200m) success in Europe last July when under the preparation of William Knight.
Their Goodwood Cup victory over the two miles convinced Knight that Illustrious Blue was worthy of a shot at last year’s Melbourne Cup and he bought the Dansili stallion to Australia for the 2010 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Lining up in the Melbourne Cup for their Australian race debut, Illustrious Blue could only manage to finish 11 lengths away ninth to winner Americain.
They have remained in Australia since, Knight running them in the Sandown Cup (3200m) a fortnight after the Melbourne Cup before transferring the horse over to the care of David Payne.
Three failed runs for Payne later and Illustrious Blue will get their chance to finally break their maiden status down under, Waller planning to resume them in the $175,000 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 3.
“He will probably resume in the Chelmsford,” Waller said.
“He will have his second trial on Friday and after that we will make sure he is ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”
Waller also announced that the Melbourne Cup would again be the aim for Illustrious Blue, who is currently rated a $151 roughie in the Melbourne Cup odds at Luxbet.
Other generous priced Melbourne Cup horses Waller has in the works include the former Queen-owned My Kingdom Of Fife ($21 Luxbet), six-year-old Hawk Island ($35), Sydney Cup winner Stand To Gain ($51), Foreteller ($61), Syreon ($71), The Verminator ($101), Gigino ($151) and Pressday ($201).
“I’m always very guarded about my Cup hopes,” Waller said.
“Our horses are certainly rough chances but do need to improve to go ahead and be competitive in a race like that.
“If we can get a win or two out of them well I’m sure we can get there on the first Tuesday of November.
“They will need to prove themselves to get to that stage.”
Illustrious Blue is engaged for the opening Warwick Farm trial on Friday morning, one of nine horses Waller has going around at the heats.
Another tried horse that has recently joined Waller at his Rosehill base ahead of the spring and that is engaged for a trial on Friday is Albert The Fat.
The seven-year-old Magic Albert gelding has failed to finish better than fourth since their 2010 BTC Cup- victory when under the preparation of Eden Petrie.
Having been under the training of Scone-based horseman Paul Messara since June last year, Albert The Fat’s connections are now giving Waller the chance to get the horse back to their Group winning form.
“He has been with us the whole prep, so for about eight weeks now,” Waller said.
“I love dealing with these types of horses.
“We are pretty soft on our horses and these sorts of horses can come to our yard and often improve.
“Sometimes they don’t but Albert The Fat has come to us in tremendous order.
“He’s been well looked after and there is plenty of upside to him.”
Albert The Fat, whose last run was a sixth to superstar mare Black Caviar in this year’s BTC Cup back in May, trials is the second heat on the course proper at Warwick Farm on Friday before making their debut run for Waller in the $200,000 Group 2 The Shorts (1200m) at Randwick on September 17.
“He will more than likely have two trials,” Waller said.
“His first one on Friday will probably be a pretty quiet one.
“It is probably a bit earlier than what we would have liked but for that reason we will give him a quiet one which gives him the chance to have two.
“He will then probably resume in The Shorts.
“We will be realistic to begin with.
“Obviously he has raced against the best horses and I hope we can get him back to that level.
“We will just take small steps with him and more to the point we will decide after his first couple of runs whether we go down a sprinting path or maybe angle towards a mile with him.”
To follow the spring preparation of Waller’s horses stay tuned to Races.com.au.
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