2011 Queensland Horse of the Year, the now Chris Waller-trained Shoot Out is gearing up for an autumn return after racing in their first official trial of the season at Rosehill on Thursday morning.
The five-year-old High Chaparral gelding, last seen finishing two lengths away second to Glass Harmonium in the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) on June 4, looked close to race condition when finishing one away from Nordstrom in an 900m Open Trial this morning.
Waller was pleased with the hitout where Shoot Out was ridden by Hugh Bowman, the ace Sydney trainer naming the $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on February 11 as the likely first-up target for his recent stable acquisition.
“Excellent, I couldn’t have been happier,” Waller said of the trail.
“There’s a long way to go but that’s the first part out of the way.
“He has got plenty of class about him.
“Hugh Bowman rode him in the trial.
“He just came out nicely and settled midfield then in the straight he quickened up under his own accord and finished second.
“Hugh Bowman was very happy with the workout as was I.
“It looks like he has come back in good order and heading in the right direction.”
Waller was also represented in the Rosehill gallop by his eight-year-old gelding Danleigh, winner of the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes over the Warwick Farm mile last March which was their fourth elite level success.
Both Shoot Out and Danleigh were also nominated for $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) to run at Royal Randwick on April 21 when early entries close this week.
Over their 24-start career to date Shoot Out was prepared by John Wallace on the Gold Coast having only recently been transferred to the care of Waller in Sydney.
A winner of seven of those starts, Shoot Out has amassed over $1.9 million in prize money thanks to elite level wins in the 2010 Randwick Guineas and AJC Australian Derby.
“Good horses have that x-factor and obviously he has done it all,” Waller said of Shoot Out who hasn’t won since his Group 2 JJ Liston Stakes (1400m) success at Caulfield in August of 2010.
“He is a dual Group 1 winner and a very special horse.
“To be given the opportunity to train hi is the easy part and now getting him to win races again is the hard part.
“He has a lot of natural ability and I am sure it will take him a long way in getting back to his best form.
“The change of scenery can be quite good for some of these older horses.”
Following the Expressway Stakes Shoot Out is expected to progress on to the $250,000 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 25 and then the $350,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 3.
“Obviously Sydney is the place to be at this time of year,” Waller said.
“There are three nice races for him coming up.
“Hopefully we can have an uninterrupted prep and get the best out of him.”
Other notable gallopers eyeing off the 2012 Expressway Stakes for their resuming runs include triple Group 1 winning veteran Sniper’s Bullet, and the fellow Waller-trained champ Rangirangdoo.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au throughout the coming weeks for all the latest Sydney and Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival updates.
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