Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller has confirmed two of his five George Main Stakes 2014 nominees for the Group 1 at Royal Randwick this weekend but said his last start Chelmsford Stakes winner Hawkspur could run in another race on the card instead.
Racing NSW received a dozen nominations for this Saturday’s $350,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) including five from Waller.
His headline hopefuls are Group 1 winners Sacred Falls and Royal Descent who ran one-two in the Doncaster Mile quinella during the autumn.
The four-time Sydney premiership winning trainer saddled up four in last year’s George Main Stakes field including Royal Descent who ran second to Streama in the weight-for-age showdown.
Winner of the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) in the mud by 10 lengths last year, the now five-year-old Redoute’s Choice mare Royal Descent is back for another shot in the George Main with Waller confirming her and dual Doncaster champ Sacred Falls.
“We will have Royal Descent and Sacred Falls and maybe Hawkspur,” he told AAP.
“The other option for Hawkspur is to step up to 2000 metres in the Hill Stakes.”
The $200,000 Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) is one of the key support races on the George Main Stakes Day program and attracted 15 nominations including six for Waller.
Royal Descent will go into the George Main on the back of two stellar runs to kick off her Sydney Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
The Gerry Harvey-owned mare ran second to Tiger Tees in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) first-up and then was a nostril flare away second again this time to stable mate Hawkspur in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) on September 6 relishing a Heavy (9) Randwick track from both runs.
Sacred Falls meanwhile also comes via the Chelmsford Stakes, where Waller prepared the first six over the line in the eight-starter race, the fellow O’Reilly prodigy fourth in the race.
The five-year-old stallion was seventh in last year’s George Main Stakes after being hampered on the straight and forced to race wide throughout, an effort Waller is hoping he can improve on 12 months on.
Hawkspur meanwhile enjoyed his maiden win the Chelmsford last time out since winning the same race a year earlier by three and a half lengths second-up.
The former Queensland Derby winner then went on to run fourth in the George Main, Waller looking at taking him out over more distance earlier however as he progresses towards a likely run in the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) back at the track on October 4.
Hawkspur is currently the equal $11 third pick in futures The Metropolitan odds at Ladbrokes.com.au that are led by La Amistad ($7) and Waller’s French import He’s Your Man ($8).
The Metropolitan Handicap weights were also released on Monday with Hawkspur allocated the 57.5kg second top weight behind the Robert Hickmott-trained Sea Moon (58kg).
Hawkspur, Sacred Falls and Royal Descent for Waller are also all nominated and weighted for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) over less distance on the same day as The Metropolitan.
Waller then could use Saturday’s George Main showdown as a “dress rehearsal” of sorts to see which of his contingent head towards what races next month.
“The George Main will be a big pointer [towards the Epsom] for a horse like Hawkspur, for example,” Waller told The Daily Telegraph.
“Is he going to be looking for more than a mile now? But if he happened to win on Saturday, then he will look the best-weighted horse in the Epsom (with 56.5kg).”
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