Waller Eyes 2017 The Metropolitan for Tom Melbourne

The OTI Racing-owned import Tom Melbourne has moved to the Sydney stables of Chris Waller and could be set for a The Metropolitan 2017 campaign in the spring.

Chris Waller

Top Sydney horseman Chris Waller has taken over the training of OTI Racing import Tom Melbourne. Photo: Sarah Ebbett.

Formerly prepared by Lee & Anthony Freedman, there’s little doubt that the Dylan Thomas gelding hasn’t really lived up to expectations down under.

OTI’s managing director Terry Henderson hopes that frustrations will ease with a change of stables and that Waller can work his magic with the untapped horse over the coming month.

“He’s left Lee and Anthony Freedman to head off to Chris Waller for a change of scenery,” Henderson told Racing Victoria this week.

“As we know this horse has been a little disappointing, and he’s not the easiest horse to train.

“He’s one of those horses that although we’ve had for 18 months we really don’t know where he sits, is he a 2000m or a 2400m horse, or really something more precocious?

“I’m sure Chris will help work that out for us, Chris has shown over time that he is exceptionally good at turning these horses around.

“He’ll try something different no doubt, and often this will change the horse’s attitude and changes their racing style and that’s what we’re certainly hoping here.”

The six-year-old had one run in Ireland in December of 2014 before being brought to Australia where connections were confident he’d be a stayer to be reckoned with in some of the country’s biggest races.

Since arriving, Tom Melbourne has enjoyed just the four wins with the most notable being a Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) in the mud in March last year.

He was set for the staying races in Victoria that spring, but failed to make the Melbourne Cup field despite a second in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Victoria Derby Day at Flemington.

There was no consolation prize either when the horse failed to salute for the punters running third in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) to round out his flat spring campaign.

This year Tom Melbourne has been to the races four times for four unplaced runs, including a disastrous second last (10th) behind Humidor in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 11.

After a freshen-up and subsequent winning Cranbourne trial, he was given another shot in easier company at Flemington on Anzac Day but failed to impress again running a distant fifth behind the winner Sadaqa over 1800m.

Henderson said that if the horse shows Waller the ability to run a mile and a half, the team will consider targeting October’s Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick.

“The horse started work this week,” he said.

“We’ve got an eye on the Group 1 Metropolitan, whether he gets to the 2400m we don’t know but that gives us plenty of time to build up to a race like that.”

Waller has prepared two recent The Metropolitan winners with The Verminator scoring an upset at 20/1 in 2011 and Opinion also saluting in the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival feature at double figures ($12) in 2014.

For access to all the best racing odds and offers and to get behind Tom Melbourne next race under Waller’s training head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.

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