Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller may have gone without a Group 1 win on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’, but he’s right in the mix for his 15th elite level success of the season this Saturday with Kermadec and Press Statement to face off in the 2016 All Aged Stakes.
Waller opted not to back-up his historical Doncaster Mile winner Winx in last Saturday’s $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick, and was forced to settle for a Group 2 win and Group 1 minor placings.
He prepared the quinella with Japonisme (1st) and Counterattack (2nd) in the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) as well as the second, third and fourth over the line in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) won by the Robert Hickmott-trained Gallante.
This weekend he will look to go one better with a win in the $600,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m), a race he won back in 2009 with Danleigh.
Waller presses on in the All Aged Stakes this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival with his Teofilo stallion Kermadec, the four-year-old having failed to beat home any other runner when unsuccessfully defending his title in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 2.
Kermadec was runner-up to Winx the run before in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), but things went amiss when he crossed 17 lengths away 15th to her in the Doncaster, pulling up with an elevated heart rate.
He has made good improvement since and gets the chance to atone in the All Aged Stakes on Saturday, Dissident (2015) last year the first four-year-old winner of the race since Shamekha (2005).
Also set to represent Waller in the All Aged Stakes field on the weekend is Hinchinbrook colt Press Statement, out to join Atlantic Jewel (2012) and All Too Hard (2013) as the recent three-year-old winners of the weight-for-age clash.
A six-time winner from 10 career starts to date, Press Statement’s last turf triumph was first-up in Rosehill’s Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) on February 20.
He backed-up in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) running a close second as the beaten odds-on favourite to Le Romain before his third in the George Ryder Stakes in an all-Waller trifecta on March 19.
Set for a career in the breeding barn at Vinery Stud, Press Statement has won over $1.8 million in prize money to date thanks to his Caulfield Guineas win in the spring and is set for a good run on the weekend.
“He will be fresh for the All Aged and he races well that way,” Waller told AAP.
Both Kermadec and Press Statement are looking to earn an international Royal Ascot bid later this year with a big performance in the All Aged Stakes, the stablemates being aimed at the coveted Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) in June.
“I think Kermadec is more of a sprinter and we will bring him back in distance,” Waller said.
“Press Statement is a good 1400 metre horse and that’s what you need for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“It is a tough 1200 metres.”
Last year Waller took his now-retired Group 1 winner Brazen Beau to Ascot where he ran a brave second to Undrafted in the Diamond Jubilee after a tough run from the outside barrier (15 of 15).
“It’s an amazing experience and if you have a colt it can be important for their breeding careers,” Waller said.
Japonisme, also a Group 1 winner in last year’s Coolmore Stud Stakes down the Flemington straight, is another Waller-trained hope that could make the trip to England.
“He is about 50-50 for Ascot,” Waller said.
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