With the news on Monday that Sydney’s leading horseman Chris Waller had retired his veteran galloper Shoot Out, weights for Saturday week’s Epsom Handicap 2013 will be raised 1kg.
It was announced High Chaparral seven-year-old Shoot Out had run his last race after failing to defend his title, or beat home any of his eight rivals, finishing last in Saturday’s Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
Last year’s George Main was one of five Group 1 wins the former Queenslander enjoyed over their 37 start career, the Linda and Graeme Huddy-owned gelding having started their career off at the Gold Coast with John Wallace.
Wallace prepared them for their opening two elite level victories when they took out the Randwick Guineas – Australian Derby double as a three-year-old in Sydney back in 2010.
Having amassed over $3.2 million in prize money over the years, Shoot Out’s last win was the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) back in March, a race they also took out last year.
They will now be sent back to the Sunshine State to see out the remainder of their days on the Huddy property.
“The horse came to me as a proven top-level performer and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be associated with him,” ABC News reported Waller as saying.
“We’ve decided to retire him after obviously a very, very successful career and we think it’s only right to send the horse to the paddock and for his future life as a very sound horse and obviously be remembered as a very successful horse.
“Shoot Out has performed at the highest level for five years which is testament to all of those that have been involved in his career.
“He will retire as a sound horse to the owners’ property, Peachester Lodge, in Queensland.
“It’s a sad day in one, but on the other hand almost a relief to be associated with such a good horse and sending the horse off to the paddock in great condition.
“There were so many notable achievements and he’ll certainly be missed but certainly not forgotten.”
They were also originally one of the 104 nominees heading towards a run in the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 5, and the 58kg topweight for the Sydney Spring Racing Classic as well.
As they won’t be running due to their retirement, the rules will see all the remaining Epsom Handicap weights raised one kilogram with Sincero, eighth in the George Main, now the 58kg topweight.
Epsom Handicap betting meanwhile is led by the Guy Walter-trained Cameron Handicap winner Toydini at $5.50 who is now up to 54kg.
They were originally allocated the 52kg lightweight but received a kilo penalty for their Newcastle Group 3 success, and now another kilo on top of that with the withdrawal of the original top-weight.
The increase in Epsom weights has certainly benefited jockey Blake Shinn who looks now able to ride Toydini in the showdown having ridden them for all four of their wins to date.
Stewards must approve the ride however with Shinn’s current riding weight sitting at 55kg after he collapsed from wasting at a January meet earlier in the year.
“Blake has had a long association with Toydini and we are hoping he can ride him,” Walter said according to AAP.
“The horse will not race again before the Epsom.”
The breeding is certainly right for the favourite as his dam Johan’s Toy finished second in the 2005 edition.
“He is a big strong horse and the ideal Epsom type,” Walter said.
“He was gelded after the spring and it has made a difference to him. His mother was a great mare and it would be nice to go one better with her son.”
The other early favourites in the Epsom Handicap odds and their new weights then include Toydini’s George Main Stakes winning stablemate Streama (54.5kg) at $8, the Lloyd Williams-owned Fawkner (54.5kg) paying $10 and fellow $10 shot Sacred Falls (56.5kg) for Chris Waller.
Streama was ridden by Shinn in the George main but Hugh Bowman will reunite with her for the Epsom.
“Streama has pulled up well from the George Main and also goes there (to the Epsom),” Walter confirmed this week.
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