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Five-time Sydney Trainers’ Premiership winning horseman Chris Waller has confirmed plans to ride You’ll Never quietly in the Winter Challenge 2015 at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Waller shoots for his third consecutive win in the $100,000 Listed ATC Winter Challenge (1500m) and has three of the 11 nominees in the mix.
In 2013 he ran the Winter Challenge quinella and then scored the trifecta 12 months ago when He’s Your Man saluted for the stable before going on to win the Epsom Handicap and Emirates Stakes in Group 1 company.
One of Waller’s three hopes this winter is Commands gelding You’ll Never who is out to atone for a seventh behind stablemate and fellow Winter Challenge-bound Rugged Cross in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) run on a Heavy (9) Rosehill track on July 18.
In the Winter Stakes You’ll Never was ridden closer to the speed than usual by jockey Blake Shinn, something that cost him a closer finish when crossing two and a half lengths away according to Waller.
“It was OK but I think it proved he can’t be ridden too close and we had to right him a bit closer last start,” Waller told The Daily Telegraph.
“He had a good draw and on a wet track which appeared to be hard to make up ground as has been the case for some time in Sydney.
“It was one of his poorest runs in his career so we’ll just go back to riding him quiet on Saturday.”
Imported Winter Stakes winner Rugged Cross meanwhile shoots for back-to-back black-type wins on the weekend, the Cape Cross gelding in top form this campaign.
A known mudlark with excellent form on Heavy going (6-3-1-0), the rising seven-year-old got the job done from the inside alley last time out and Waller is hoping for a similar performance on Saturday.
His third Winter Challenge nominee is fellow import Eigelstein, the Dubawi seven-year-old having run third to Kenjorwood in the Shoot Out Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on July 11.
A winner of six of his 37 career starts to date, Waller has his trio pinned as a solid bunch but knows it is getting harder and harder to secure a win under handicap conditions with them.
“They are horses that win one in every six or seven starts but they are at the top of their handicap now so it’s a little bit hard for them to win races in a row,” Waller said.
“Luck in running and the way the races are run plays a big key for all of them really.”
Eigelstein also has a soft spot for rain-affected tracks, so Waller will be keen to see the skies open up ahead of the weekend with the galloper after his first win since June last year.
Waller has a total of 15 horses nominated for Rosehill’s Horse’s Birthday meeting on Saturday and that is his current focus, not celebrating his fifth consecutive Premiership awarded to him on Friday.
“There’s no mad Monday that’s for sure,” he said.
“It’s not much different this Saturday and over the next few weeks we start to get a mix of winter horses and a few of the spring horses coming on to the scene and that is always exciting.”
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