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Exciting Canterbury winner on the weekend Stout Hearted has confirmed their spot in the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival this year, leading Sydney horseman Chris Waller naming the 2012 The Metropolitan as a realistic Group 1 goal for the European import.
Formerly prepared in the UK by John Gosden when raced under the name Seelo, the now four-year-old Dynaformer gelding joined Waller’s Rosehill operation at the start of the year.
They had two decent runs in Canterbury during the autumn before winning their first for their new trainer at Rosehill on a Heavy (9) track in July.
A fourth at the same track a fortnight later followed before Stout Hearted stepped up to the 1900m and blew their competition away on Saturday with a four and a half length victory over Lethal Arrow in a Benchmark 87 at Canterbury.
Also among the rivals they defeated on the weekend was former Grafton Cup winner Gazza Guru in third.
“He’s still learning and it’s a good time of year for these horses to go from midweek to Saturday races,” Waller said after the win.
“This one is a nice progressive horse and he had pretty good form in England.”
Having displayed their staying potential Waller is keen to extend Stout Hearted event further and has named the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 6, Epsom Handicap Day, as their major spring target.
“He’s by Americain’s sire Dynaformer so he should be able to stay,” Waller said.
“He’ll run in an 1800-metre race at Rosehill in two weeks and we’ll go from there.”
Waller was quick to point out the similarities between Stout Hearted and another of his imported horses in The Verminator who won The Metropolitan by three lengths back in 2011.
“I could compare him to a horse like The Verminator,” Waller said.
“He kept winning these races and ended up in the Metropolitan.”
Jockey Nathan Berry was also impressed with Stout Hearted’s performance on Saturday and tipped them as one to watch throughout the coming spring features.
“He couldn’t have been more impressive,” Berry said.
“I rode him like the best horse in the race and he proved he was.”
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