Vanbrugh Targets Epsom Handicap 2016

Chris Waller has confirmed spring plans to target the 2016 Epsom Handicap with the stable’s Spring Champion Stakes winner last October, Vanbrugh.


Trainer Chris Waller will shoot for a fourth consecutive Epsom Handicap win this spring with Vanbrugh. Photo: Steve Hart.

This week Waller lost Hinchinbrook colt Press Statement to retirement, the $1.8 million earner to stand at Vinery Stud next season after an unplaced run in last Saturday’s All Aged Stakes.

Still going strong and currently in the paddock though is fellow colt Vanbrugh, the three-year-old son of Encosta De Lago last seen running a distant ninth to Tavago in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 2.

A winner of four of his 13 starts to date, Vanbrugh hasn’t been first past the post since his Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) last Sydney Spring Racing Carnival, which gave his sire Encosta De Lago an individual 24 Group 1 winners.

That followed a strong September that also included a Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) victory at Rosehill.

This time in the horse’s form has been hit-and-miss.

His best result from four autumn runs was a fourth to Tarzino when just under four lengths off the winner in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m).

After the youngster’s failed Derby bid, Waller plans to keep Vanbrugh to the shorter distance assignments next campaign including the $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) over the Randwick mile in early October.

Waller has dominated the Epsom Handicap results in recent years winning the past three editions on the trot with Boban (2013), He’s Your Man (2014) and the mare now rated the World’s Best Winx (2015).

He is hoping to add a fourth to his run in 2016 via Vanbrugh, who he believes can improve on his autumn on the firmer spring tracks in the coming months.

“With his turn of foot, better tracks are key for Vanbrugh and he would be very competitive at Randwick where he won as a two-year-old and this season in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes,” Waller said in a Press Release this week.

“I think 1600 to 2000 metres is potentially his best trip and obviously more success at the highest level will enhance the stud prospects of an already valuable colt.”

Last year Waller prepared his star Street Cry mare Winx to victory in the Epsom second-up after her resuming success in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill.

He is planning a similar campaign with Vanbrugh, who like Winx, could also head into a $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) run at Moonee Valley.

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