Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller has confirmed the Epsom Handicap 2014 at the start of October this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival is one of two Group 1 options for his Fastnet Rock colt Bull Point.
Waller is looking at either a step up to a mile for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4 or an earlier run the week before at Caulfield Racecourse in the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 28 for the rising four-year-old.
Epsom Handicap betting markets are already open and going off at Ladbrokes.com.au and the previously Gai Waterhouse-trained Bull Point, who is yet to race for Waller, is one of the top fancies paying $13 equal with his Chipping Norton Stakes winning stablemate Boban.
Bernardini gelding Boban, last seen running dead last when struggling over 2000m in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April, is a top horse Waller has recently compared Bull Point’s form to.
“The difference was though that Boban didn’t resume until late August,” he said on TVN.
Bull Point has to date won three of their 10 career starts, most notable the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield back on the first of February.
A gun youngster in their opening preparation, they had their first Group 1 run last September at Rosehill when a brave third after a luckless run behind Zoustar in the Golden Rose Stakes.
They were again tested in elite company this autumn running fourth, under one and a half lengths off the winner Moment Of Change, in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on the back of their Manfred success.
Things went amiss then however with Bull Point crossing dead last in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).
They hampered the start, hit another runner soon after the jump losing lots of early ground and then got caught wide before tailing off to finish 14th 11 lengths from Dissident in a poor run.
On jockey Damien Oliver’s advice Bull Point was given a quick freshen-up and 21 days later returned in the Group 3 Sebring Stakes (1200m).
While Oliver had said they didn’t run out the mile in the Guineas, the colt’s effort over the 1200m next run was also very average when they ran seventh to Flamberge on a Heavy (8) track.
Their 1600m run in March may have been a failed effort but Waller hasn’t ruled out testing them over the distance again with a 2014 Epsom Handicap campaign this time in.
“The horse is very well, I’ve been pleased with his two trials we just haven’t worked out yet whether we target the 1400m and go for the Rupert Clarke or if he is a miler and we look at the Epsom,” Waller explained.
Bull Point was nominated for their first-up run of the new season at Rosehill’s Winter Challenge Day this Saturday in an $85,000 Benchmark 95 handicap over 1200m.
Waller however didn’t accept for the race saving their return for a later date.
“It is still very early for horses of Bull Point’s capabilities and I don’t want to burn him out before the good races come around,” Waller said.
“We are just keeping our options open.”
The feature race at Rosehill Gardens this weekend is the $100,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) and Ladbrokes.com.au punters can bet with confidence knowing they’ll get money back as a bonus bet up to $50 if their horse runs second in the event!