After a pleasing trial at Warwick Farm on Monday morning Sydney’s top trainer Chris Waller hinted at a possible Stradbroke Handicap 2014 bid for his dual Group 1 winning mare Red Tracer.
Waller was all smiles at the track after the pleasing workouts from his smart mares Red Tracer and Catkins, both on way to a Group 1 run this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
While the obvious target for both is the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 21, the master horseman was also keeping the $1.36 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in mind a fortnight before for Dane Shadow six-year-old Red Tracer.
“I’m leaning towards the Stradbroke with Red Tracer,” Waller told The Daily Telegraph.
“She hasn’t got much left to prove, she’s already won two Group 1s, and if there’s any rain about, she’ll definitely run.”
Last seen finishing a close third when defeated under a length by Diamond Drille in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 19, Red Tracer was in flying form in Queensland last winter.
She improved on a Doncaster Mile 15th in the mud at home to win the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day before her easy two and a half length Tattersall’s Tiara win from the outside barrier (16 of 16).
Red Tracer then became a two time Group 1 winner during the spring in Melbourne with her narrow Myer Classic victory over the Flemington mile in early November.
Waller is looking at a title defense in the Tattersall’s Tiara 2014 for Red Tracer, where she’ll run against the also very classy Catkins, but could give her a go in the Stradbroke also after she trialed at the Farm yesterday and posted an easy win over 795m in the open trial in a time of 47.20.
He did however rule out Catkins for the Straddie, the Dubawi four-year-old instead to target the Dane Ripper Stakes – Tattersall’s Tiara double achieved by Red Tracer last year.
“Catkins is unlikely [to run in the Stradbroke],” Waller said.
“I want to win a Group 1 with her, but I think the Tiara could be easier than the Stradbroke.
“One mare is already in her prime, while the other one is getting to her prime.”
Runner-up to her older stable mate in the Myer Classic, Catkins has also been in flying form this year.
She won back-to-back Group races to kick things off in February and March before a third to Steps In Time in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill.
From there she won the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) on a Heavy (8) track before running her worst ever race when sixth in the Queen of the Turf.
That was an effort Waller is keen to forget, Catkins having had everything go her way but still only managing to come within four lengths of the winner.
Her Monday morning work hinted at a form return however when third to Assassinate, a quarter length off the winner, over 795m where she was never pushed.
Latest Stradbroke Handicap 2014 odds are led by Spirit Of Boom ($6), Rebel Dane ($6.50) and Buffering ($7) who all run in this Saturday’s $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
Catkins is then the next best in betting at $9 while Red Tracer, who could be retired if she doesn’t race well enough for a Group 1 bid this season, follows on $10.
To follow the action of Waller’s Brisbane contingent this winter stay tuned to Races.com.au.
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