Chris Waller may be preparing a triple pronged attack on the Epsom Handicap 2012 this Saturday but his trio has work to do in the classic mile after all drawing double digit barriers.
Headlining the action at Royal Randwick on Saturday as Race 7 at 4:00pm, the $500,000 Group 1 The Star Epsom Handicap (1600m) field features 15 gallopers including three Waller-trained stablemates.
Gai Waterhouse’s progressive four-year-old Fat Al leads the latest Epsom Handicap betting odds at bookmaker.com.au paying $4.80 before two of Waller’s contingent occupy the next lines.
First-up winner of the George Main Stakes last time out, Shoot Out is the $5.50 second elect followed by their evergreen and always honest stablemate Rangirangdoo ($7.50) who ran a slashing second in the George Main.
Shoot Out (58kg) and Rangirangdoo (57.5kg) will jump from barriers 10 and 14 respectively in the Epsom also carrying the two top weights, a situation that isn’t ideal but that also isn’t disastrous according to Waller.
“The barriers aren’t ideal but they are just foolproof horses,” he said.
“They are very tractable and like a bit of room.
“I wouldn’t be worried if they were out three-wide. Obviously it makes it that bit harder but I’d sooner have them out of trouble with good galloping room than have them bottled up on the fence, especially the way the track raced a fortnight ago.”
Waller named defending Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer, an $8.50 chance of going back-to-back in gate nine this year, as the benchmark and is confident with Shoot Out and Rangirangdoo as they beat her home in the George Main – Secret Admirer two and a half lengths away third.
“On the strength of her form my two went very well last start and Shoot Out should improve the most of the two being second-up on Saturday,” Waller said.
Pentire eight-year-old Rangirangdoo was also originally accepted for the $125,000 Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) on Epsom Handicap Day but has subsequently been scratched from the support race in favour of chasing his third elite level win.
“He’s not getting any younger and it’s a Group One race and he runs well at Randwick,” Waller said of Rangi.
“If he runs again after the Epsom, which I’m sure he will, we can always go back to a Group Three 2000 metre-type race.”
Waller’s third Epsom hope this year is then Said Com, runner-up over this track and distance in the Randwick Guineas back in March, in gate 12 with Corey Brown to ride the 52kg lightweight chance.
“He’s got a difficult draw but he gets back anyway and if he can be following Shoot Out and Rangi into the race with a light weight, if he’s good enough he’ll beat them and if he’s not he won’t,” Waller said.
He may boast two Doncaster trophies but Waller is yet to take out the Epsom and despite the awkward barriers he came up with this year he remains hopeful ahead of Saturday.
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