Bayrir Ready for 2013 Winter Challenge

Two progressive Rosehill trials last month have readied international star Bayrir for an Australian debut with their new trainer Chris Waller in this Saturday’s Winter Challenge 2013 at the same track.

Chris Waller

Chris Waller will saddle up three chances in the 2013 Winter Challenge on Saturday. Photo: Daniel Costello.

Kicking off stakes racing for the 2013-14 season, the $100,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) has drawn an intriguing field of 10 hopefuls this year with Bayrir to wear the number one saddlecloth as their 59kg top weight.

Formerly prepared in France by Alain de Royer Dupre of 2010 Melbourne Cup fame with Americain, the now four-year-old Medicean stallion hasn’t raced since early December.

In their last run they finished a credible sixth beaten two and a half lengths by Red Cadeaux, second to Americain in the Melbourne Cup three years ago, in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin.

Only lightly raced, that was the seventh start of a career highlighted by their impressive Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes (2011m) win at Arlington in the USA last August.

They also contested last October’s edition of one of the world’s most esteemed races when a distant 10th in the Group 1 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) at Longchamp.

Now raced by Waller from his successful Sydney base Bayrir will work their way up through the grades this season starting with the Winter Challenge where they are rated a $4.40 chance having drawn the inside alley with Hugh Bowman to ride.

“He did a good job as a three-year-old around the world, which is a good test because it’s not just in his backyard,” Waller reported to

“He took on some very good horses. He’s had plenty of time to settle in and looks to have acclimatised very well.”

Whether they’re up to winning first-up is still to be determined with Waller unsure what to take of their two July trials over the 1030m at Rosehill where they finished fifth and then more recently third.

“It’s hard to read them but he hasn’t been let go yet,” he said.

“If there’s one criticism of the horse it’s that he’s a little more forward than he needs to be. He’s got himself there.

“We want something there towards the end of the spring.”

Fuel in the tank will especially be necessary should Bayrir progress through the ranks and make it to one of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival majors.

A possible aim over a suitable distance would be the $2.6 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19, nominations for which are taken on Tuesday.

Markets are led by Gai Waterhouse’s last start Winter Stakes winner Under The Sun ($3.30) but the money is starting to come now for the French expat.

Waller meanwhile is also represented in the Winter Challenge this weekend by two other hopefuls with Witner Stakes third place-getter Coup Ay Tee (barrier three) and Wazn (barrier 10) paying $6 and $10 respectively.

“Coup Aye Tee had to go back last start from the draw (gate nine of nine) but on Saturday he’s drawn better so he should settle closer and he won’t have to give such a start,” Waller said of the six-year-old.

While for Wazn Waller said the dour stayer could be needing a little extra than the 1500m they’ll get in the Winter Challenge.

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