Chris Waller’s gun stallion Preferment will chase back-to-back wins in the Turnbull Stakes 2016 for the first time since the late 1980s this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Waller confirmed plans for the rising Zabeel five-year-old to defend his title in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington Racecourse in early October after welcoming him back into work late last month.
A winner of five of his 21 starts to date for over $3.3 million in prize money, Preferment was last seen bombing out to cross a distant 12th to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 9.
That followed earlier gun form during the autumn including a successful Group 1 double in the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington and The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill.
Preferment first hit the headlines as a three-year-old winning the 2014 Victoria Derby.
He has enjoyed three subsequent elite level victories including the Turnbull Stakes last spring.
The galloper won the Turnbull narrowly over stablemate Royal Descent third-up last season after resuming with a 12th in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and win in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in September.
After the Turnbull triumph Preferment went on to run ninth to Waller’s stable stalwart Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) before being outstayed for a 20th behind Prince Of Penzance in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
While Waller has confirmed a second Turnbull Stakes bid for Preferment, the rest of his spring will follow a different path to last year.
After looking to win successive editions of the Turnbull Stakes for the first time since Vo Rogue (1987-88) Waller said he was likely to target the new-look Mackinnon Stakes.
“Preferment is back and he will be set for the Turnbull Stakes again and probably the Mackinnon,” Waller told AAP this week.
The old Mackinnon Stakes is now run as the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) under weight-for-age conditions at Flemington on the first Saturday of November.
Waller also confirmed three Sydney weight-for-age runs spaced two weeks apart for Winx starting with the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) next month before her shot at another Cox Plate triumph in October.
Also back in work for Waller at the Gold Coast is gun three-year-old Japonisme.
The Choisir gelding won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) last Victoria Derby Day at Flemington with his only win since being in the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) at Randwick in early April.
He travelled to Brisbane last time out for a third to Malaguerra at Doomben in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) in mid-May.
Japonisme will be aimed at the Group 1 spring sprints this time in including the Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight on Emirates Stakes Day.
“Japonisme is back in training at the Gold Coast and he will be aimed at Group 1 sprints,” Waller said.
Waller won the Darley Classic last year with Delectation (2015) and the last trainer to go back-to-back in the race was Peter Moody with Black Caviar (2010-11).
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