This year’s brave fourth placegetter and an arriving import look to be Sydney-based horseman Chris Waller’s leading chances of securing his maiden ‘Loving Trophy’ when the 2013 Melbourne Cup rolls around next November.
Waller came his closest ever to taking out the world’s richest handicap this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival when Refuse To Bend four-year-old Kelinni earned their spot in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) with a Lexus Stakes win on Derby Day before running three lengths away fourth to Green Moon in the Cup.
It was that gallant effort that ignited the passion in Waller, who normally targets the autumn riches in Sydney over the spring features in Melbourne, to focus more on winning himself a Melbourne Cup.
“I’ve been bitten by the Melbourne Cup bug,” Waller said.
“I want to win it. We came close with Kelinni and he was the most realistic chance we have had so far.”
Kelinni, who has been rested since their Melbourne Cup performance and who is currently in pre-training, is again on the path towards the ‘race that stops a nation’ held at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“He will have a light autumn of probably three races with the BMW the aim,” Waller said.
“Whether he will be well weighted in the Melbourne Cup next time around is something we need to consider.”
The $2.25 million Group 1 The BMW (2400m) runs at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday April 6, 2013.
Waller’s other major Melbourne Cup 2013 chance at this stage is then the former John Gosden-trained European import Gatewood who is due to arrive in his stables this week.
Winner of the Geelong Cup in their second run down under, the lightly-raced Galileo stallion failed to make the Melbourne Cup field in 2012 after their sixth to Kelinni in the Leuxs Stakes.
Waller will take over the preparation of Gatewood this season after they were purchased by OTI Racing and the trainer has high hopes for his recent stable acquisition who will likely target the mile – 2000m races of the autumn before a decision is made over whether to target the Melbourne Cup with them again.
“He will arrive at the stable on Friday,” Waller said.
“I’m not sure what we will set him for.
“I will rung John Gosden and learn what I can from him about the horse and then talk to the owners and work out a plan.
“He looks like a straightforward horse with a turn of foot.
“But perhaps over here he might be a weight-for-age horse and there are significant mile (1600m) and 2000 metre races in Australia.
“We have to respect the pool these horses come from.”
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