The booking of Sydney hoop Kerrin McEvoy has seen Chris Waller name his Doncaster Mile champ Sacred Falls as his best chance in Saturday’s Epsom Handicap 2013 at Royal Randwick.
The master trainer is set to saddle-up three livewire chances in the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) on the weekend, including his Group 1 winning Kiwi expat Sacred Falls.
In the pre-field Epsom Handicap odds at the online bookies two of Waller’s Epsom hopes are inside the first five lines of betting.
Markets are led by the Guy Walter-trained Cameron Handicap winner Toydini at around $4.40.
Following closely is then Waller’s in-form Bernardini four-year-old Boban ($5) who defeated Belltone to win the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick on September 21.
While Boban has great lead-up form, Waller knows the right Epsom Handicap barrier is crucial to whether they live up to the hype again.
“I think he needs to draw the inside half of the field and one to eight would be perfect,” Waller said.
“He doesn’t need to draw one or two but as long as he gets cover early and is not exposed because he will over-race.”
It is the bookie’s next best fancied Sacred Falls ($13) then that Waller believes could have the edge on Saturday.
“I think we’ve got three good chances but Sacred Falls is clearly the better performed because he is a multiple Group One winner third-up after a spell,” he told AAP.
The O’Reilly stallion was originally prepared in New Zealand by Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue for whom they won their six opening starts including the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) in November last year.
Sacred Falls then joined Waller’s Sydney operation as an unbeaten three-year-old at the start of the year.
Under Waller they ran two decent races before their second to another star Kiwi, It’s A Dundeel, in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in March.
They relished a Heavy (10) track next start however and won their first race for their new trainer becoming a dual Group 1 winner with their victory over Pierro in the Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 20.
Sacred Falls has had two runs this time in and have been just off the mark.
First-up they ran a close fourth to Malavio in the Group 3 Tramway Stakes (1400M0 before their fast finishing seventh beaten three lengths by Streama, the $7.50 third pick for the Epsom, in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) on September 21.
Two different jockeys have been aboard the horse this time in with Leith Innes and then Tommy Berry.
For the Epsom however Waller has engaged the services of Darley’s No. 1 rider McEvoy who he thinks will be the perfect fit.
“Sacred Falls is a horse who needs a confident ride, someone who can cuddle him and I think Kerrin will suit him,” Waller said.
“He (Sacred Falls) is ready to race and I think he is pretty well weighted (with 55.5kg).”
If successful Sacred Falls will join a line of champions to complete the Doncaster Mile – Epsom Handicap double over the years including Chatham, Gunsynd, Super impose and Racing To Win.
”I think he is well weighted when you consider what he has done,” Waller told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“He is third-up and ready to peak.”
McEvoy has ridden two previous Group 1 winners for Waller in recent times with Danleigh (2009 Manikato Stakes) and Metal Bender (2010 Doomben Cup).
Waller’s third Epsom Handicap chance this year meanwhile is Riva De Lago ($15), the Encosta De Lago six-year-old coming off a last-to-first win in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) from mid-September.
“He gets his chance to run a really strong mile with the limit weight but he needs to go to a personal best as a six-year-old which can be hard for a horse to do,” Waller said of Riva De Lago.
The Epsom Handicap 2013 field is due out on Wednesday and will be followed by updated odds at Ladbrokes.com.au where all new depositing customers are eligible for a bonus welcome bet valued up to $250!