Waller Prefers 2016 Chelmsford Stakes First-Up

Sydney’s record-breaking trainer Chris Waller will save his gun galloper Preferment from a first-up clash with stablemates Who Shot Thebarman and Winx in the Warwick Stakes and instead kick-off the Turnbull Stakes-bound galloper in the Chelmsford Stakes 2016.


Preferment will follow the exact spring campaign as last year heading into a title defense in the 2016 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

Waller is plotting the spring bids of his stable stars including that of his defending Cox Plate champion Winx who returns to the track on August 20 at Royal Randwick in the $250,000 Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) before heading south to Melbourne.

Also likely to resume in the Warwick Stakes this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival is his 2014 Melbourne Cup third placegetter Who Shot Thebarman who caught the eye on Tuesday morning with a smart 900m trial win at Rosehill.

Finishing seventh in the same open hit-out without being extended was Waller’s Zabeel stallion Preferment, the rising five-year-old having his first public outing since a failed 12th behind Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) back in early April.

“I thought he was good,” Preferment’s hoop Tim Clark told Racenet post-trial win.

“He felt pretty sharp and he’s obviously a horse that will continue to improve as Chris puts the work into him.”

Before the Queen Elizabeth Stakes loss, Preferment was on fire taking out the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington and the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill in March.

He has to date amassed over $3.36 million in prize money and is a four-time Group 1 champion having also won the Victoria Derby as a three-year-old in 2014 as well as last year’s $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).

Waller has a title defence in the Turnbull Stakes on the cards for Preferment this spring at Flemington on Sunday October 2 over the AFL Grand Final long weekend, the galloper out to make history as the first back-to-back winner of the race since Vo Rogue (1987-88).

The 2016 Turnbull Stakes will come third-up for Preferment who Waller will bypass the Warwick Stakes with in favour of a run in the $250,000 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) on September 3.

The horse ran 12th first-up in last year’s Chelmsford as a $101 roughie before taking out the $200,000 Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) in an upset over Magic Hurricane at $31 second-up and then the Turnbull as a $14 chance.

Waller confirmed the same three races this season and is also considering a later run in the new-look $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) on the first Saturday of November at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“He’ll run in the Chelmsford, Hill Stakes and then the Turnbull third-up,” Waller said.

After his Turnbull Stakes victory last year Preferment ran ninth to stablemate Winx in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and 20th behind Prince Of Penzance in the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Waller hasn’t completely ruled out another Melbourne Cup run in the world’s richest handicap race for Preferment again this spring.

“Races like the Turnbull and McKinnon look logical,” the master trainer said.

“He appears a 2000 metre specialist but we’ve got to remember he had no luck in the Melbourne Cup last year. Would we have another throw at the stumps? Well we wouldn’t completely rule it out.”

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