Gai Waterhouse is gearing up for a big spring carnival raid this coming season including the return of her Grafton Cup winning mare Queenstown who is being considered for a 2014 Caulfield Cup bid.
This Friday at Randwick Waterhouse will trail up to 30 from her stables including some of the spring’s sure-to-be major players.
Heading her trial crew is Sydney Cup winning stayer The Offer, current $13 favourite in the futures markets for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday November 4.
Also entered for a Friday hitout at Royal Randwick for Waterhouse are the likes of her Group 1 Queen Of The Turf winner Diamond Drille and recent Coolmore Classic runner-up Sweet Idea along with some up-and-coming two-year-olds such as Valentina and Wandjina.
While she’s focused on the trials of these spring hopes, Waterhouse is also considering the next campaign of her four-year-old Stratum mare Queenstown.
Third to Serotrious in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Queenstown has had three runs this winter.
Her most recent was a stunning three length victory over Chris Waller’s Winter Cup winner Secessio in the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) last Thursday.
Despite her flying performance at Grafton, an unsuitability of races over the coming weeks has seen Waterhouse turn Queenstown out for a freshen-up.
“I’ve had a look at the programs in Sydney and Melbourne and there is nothing for her at this time of year,” Waterhouse told The Daily Telegraph this week.
She will return a little later then and be aimed at some tougher races, maybe even including the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
“We will have to give her a little break and then look at races like the Newcastle Gold Cup, The Metropolitan, even the Caulfield Cup,” Waterhouse said.
The $175,000 Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) runs on September 18 while the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) is one of two elite levels at Randwick on Epsom Handicap Day on October 4.
Futures Caulfield Cup betting meanwhile is currently led by the Donna Logan-trained New Zealand filly Rising Romance ($13) who won the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 19 last start.
Queenstown meanwhile can be found right down at the tail end of the all-in Caulfield Cup odds at a quote of $81 with the bookies still needing convincing she can make the grade.
Stablemate The Offer is much shorter for the Caulfield Cup paying $15 in a race Waterhouse plans to run them in leading up to the Melbourne Cup 2014.
The Montjeu five-year-old will be reunited with Tommy Berry, aboard for all three of their autumn wins including their four length Sydney Cup romp over the two miles, on Friday in the trials.
Berry takes the ride after a break that followed his smart Hong Kong stint.
“I’m booked in for 15 trials, ten for Gai Waterhouse including The Offer and Sweet Idea among others,” Berry told TVN today.
“It has been good to have a nice little break, I’ve had a few things to get sorted, spent time with the family and I’ve also moved house.
“But in saying that, I’m looking forward to getting back in to it, I’ve got some nice rides and am looking forward to the spring carnival.”
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