Five-time Sydney Trainers’ Premiership winner Chris Waller will saddle-up a trio of gallopers in Saturday’s 2015 Winter Challenge as he shoots for his third consecutive win in the Rosehill Gardens feature.
Due to jump as Rosehill Race 6 at 3:30pm (AEST), this year’s $100,000 Listed The Paslode Winter Challenge (1500m) features a final field of 10 hopefuls including three for master horseman Waller.
After preparing the first two over the line in the 2013 Winter Challenge, Waller returned 12 months ago to take out the trifecta with subsequent dual Group 1 champion He’s Your Man beating home stablemates I’m Imposing and Coup Ay Tee.
This year he could be in line for a second Winter Challenge trifecta with Rugged Cross (barrier two), You’ll Never (barrier seven) and Eigelstein (barrier eight) in the mix.
The top-rated of the three is imported Cape Cross gelding Rugged Cross who will carry 58kg from his gun barrier with Brenton Avdulla riding.
The rising seven-year-old comes into the race on the back of same ace winter form including a Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) third in early June and a last start win in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m).
He continued his gun form on Heavy tracks in the Winter Stakes saluting in his third win from six starts in the mud, but carried two kilos less than his weight for this weekend’s showdown.
You’ll Never also comes via the Winter Stakes, the rising six-year-old Commands gelding not handling being ridden closer to the speed when crossing 2.6 lengths away seventh.
Blake Shinn retains the ride this weekend, You’ll Never dropping half a kilo to 57.5kg with instructions from Waller to be to ride the horse quieter to improve his chances.
The widest-drawn of Waller’s Winter Challenge contingent this year, Eigelstein is a Glyn Schofield mount and gets in on 54.5kg.
That weight is two kilograms less than what Tye Angland rode the veteran Dubawi gelding on last time out on July 11 when third to Kenjorwood over the mile on a Heavy (9) Randwick track.
Heading the Winter Challenge field and weights for Saturday on 59kg meanwhile is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Spurtonic, Danny Beasley riding the top weight from barrier five.
Not having won a race since the Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast back in January, the Flying Spur gelding is out to atone for a string of disappointing runs since including his first-up failure when dead last (10th) behind Rugged Cross in the Winter Stakes last time out.
The rails run on Saturday belongs to Paul Perry’s Newcastle-based Wouldnt It Be Nice, the rising Choisir five-year-old after his first win since the Listed June Stakes (1100m) at Randwick on June 6.
His lead-up run into this weekend’s black-type was a brave third in the Winter Stakes when beaten just a quarter length with 56.5kg and Thomas Huet aboard, Huet retaining the ride with just half a kilo more for the Winter Challenge.
Other notable hopes with nice lead-up form include the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Great Esteem (barrier four) who has run second on rain-affected Sydney tracks in his two most recent starts and Jim & Greg Lee’s in-form gelding Keepit To Yourself (barrier six) who both get in on the 54kg minimum.
See below for the full Winter Challenge 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2015 Winter Challenge Final Field & Barrier Draw
Rosehill Race 6 (3:30pm) – 01/08/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||0x5x1080x0||SPURTONIC||Gai Waterhouse||Danny Beasley||5||59kg||101|
|2||0x91233541||RUGGED CROSS (GB)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||2||58kg||99|
|3||7244×11337||YOU’LL NEVER||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||7||57.5kg||98|
|4||37×0031583||WOULDNT IT BE NICE||Paul Perry||Thomas Huet||1||57kg||97|
|5||143x00755x||DISCLAIMER (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden||TBA||9||56kg||95|
|6||53x55x4743||EIGELSTEIN (GB)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||8||54.5kg||92|
|7||00295x60x9||CANNY BALLAD||John P Thompson||Sam Clipperton||3||54kg||90|
|8||9617521815||NOELA’S CHOICE||Peter G Moody||Regan Bayliss (a)||10||54kg||83|
|9||1111×58722||GREAT ESTEEM||Peter & Paul Snowden||TBA||4||54kg||82|
|10||1611319223||KEEPIT TO YOURSELF (NZ)||Jim & Greg Lee||TBA||6||54kg||74|