Four-time Sydney premiership winning trainer Chris Waller kicked off the new season on a high at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday with French import He’s Your Man heading his winning Winter Challenge 2014 trifecta.
Already the short-priced favourite to score a fifth consecutive premiership, Waller saddled up four of the eight runners in the weekend’s $100,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) which kicked off the black-type racing action of the 2014-15 season.
Stealing the show second-up was former French galloper, Cape Cross five-year-old He’s Your Man who was the Races.com.au tip to win and who punters could back at Ladbrokes.com.au at a nice price.
Coming off a third to Generalife in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) at the same track a month ago in their first run since being gelded, the promising stayer enjoyed a step up in distance for the Winter Challenge.
Ridden by last season’s top Sydney jockey James McDonald for the first time, a brilliant late burst saw He’s Your Man ($5) beat home their veteran stablemate I’m Imposing by one and a quarter lengths.
Nine-year-old Danehill Dancer gelding I’m Imposing ($7.50) was actually third over the line having worked their way through the back of the field but were awarded second upon protest.
The protest from their jockey Tye Angland was for interference in the straight against the fellow Waller-trained Coup Ay Tee ($18) who was regulated to third to finish off Waller’s trifecta.
“He is a nine-year-old now but he is doing a terrific job,” Waller told The Courier Mail speaking about I’m Imposing post-race.
“He races well fresh and is going to win another race for sure.”
Disappointment of the race then was the $4 favourite Romantic Moon who could only manage to finish seventh nearly four lengths off the winner.
A master trainer of imports, Waller and connections bought into a share of He’s Your Man at the start of the year with the former Alain de Royer Dupre-trained galloper debuting for him on New Year’s Day in Melbourne.
Their first campaign down under however ended on a low when dead last in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) in February.
“He went to pieces in the yard and didn’t want to be there for the Mornignton Cup,” Waller explained.
“We had him gelded after that and he is a lot more settled horse now.”
The same owners had great luck with another form Royer Dupre import last autumn with Reliable Man who won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in just their second run down under.
“We formed a group to purchase a share of He’s Your Man,” Waller said.
“So, just through that success with Reliable Man’s owners they got a bit of confidence in Australian racing.”
Now they are eyeing another Group 1 win this time with He’s Your Man during the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
“He was very good first-up a month ago but we gave him four weeks between runs, kept him nice and sharp and he was impressive winning this race,” Waller said on Saturday.
“He’s building a nice foundation for a good spring.”
Waller now has them earmarked for a shot at $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 4 – Epsom Handicap Day.
“He showed today he has a bit of class winning over an unsuitable distance,” Waller said.
“It was good to see that turn of foot, that will keep him competitive in lead-up races to The Metropolitan.”
Leading up to that their next run is likely to be in four weeks’ time in the $100,000 Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill on August 30.
“We will take him to the Premier’s Cup in about four weeks’ time and then hopefully a race like The Metropolitan,” Waller confirmed.
“The horse showed today he doesn’t have to race every two weeks to be fit.”
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2014 Winter Challenge Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 5 – 02/08/2014
|1||6||HE’S YOUR MAN (FR)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||–||3||55kg||$5|
|2||3||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||1.3L||6||57.5kg||$7.50|
|3||2||COUP AY TEE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||1.5L||1||58.5kg||$18|
|4||8||DISCLAIMER (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||3L||2||54kg||$18|
|5||4||QUEENSTOWN||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||3.4L||7||57kg||$4.80|
|6||7||ROMANTIC MOON||Bart & James Cummings||Brenton Avdulla||3.8L||5||54kg||$4F|
|7||1||SCREAM MACHINE||Jason Coyle||Blake Shinn||4.3L||4||59kg||$5|
|8||5||TOUGHER THAN EVER (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||9L||8||56kg||$10|