A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller will speak to connections ahead of the weekend to decide whether or not four-time Group 1 winner Preferment will have one final career run in the PJ O’Shea Stakes 2017 in Brisbane.
Queensland Oaks Day has been moved from Eagle Farm to Doomben Racecourse and features a trio of Group status races, one of which could be the career finale of Waller’s $3.4 million earner.
Preferment is one of just seven nominations taken for the $200,000 Group 2 PJ O’Shea Stakes (2200m) – formerly the Eagle Farm Cup.
The five-year-old son of Zabeel was last seen running a credible fourth when only two lengths off subsequent Doomben Cup winner It’s Somewhat in the Gold Coast’s Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on May 6.
That could turn out to be the swansong of the retiring stallion if Waller and the horse’s owners decide not to roll the dice once more with a weight-for-age run on the weekend.
“We’re going to make a decision on him on Wednesday morning,” Waller told Racing Victoria.
“He’ll either be retired before the race or after the race.”
Preferment, who worked at the Gold Coast on Tuesday morning, has been one of Waller’s most consistent and versatile stayers starting as a three-year-old when he won the 2014 Victoria Derby.
Since then he has added the Turnbull Stakes (2015), Australian Cup (2000m) and The BMW (2400m) to his impressive resume.
The Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in March last year was the last time Preferment tasted triumph on the turf, but Waller hasn’t forgotten how much the rising six-year-old has achieved.
“Things just haven’t gone right for him in the past 12 months,” Waller said on Tuesday.
“He’s still working well, I was happy with his gallop this morning, but I’ve got to speak to the owners to see if they do want to run him once more before being retired.
“[He’s a] Victoria Derby winner through to a Turnbull Stakes, Australian Cup and The BMW, he certainly is a very good stayer.
“And, of course, he is a son of Zabeel.”
Preferment was a $190,000 purchase from the 2013 NZB Premier Yearling Sale and has had 28 starts for five wins, four seconds and a third currently amassing $3,424,730 in career prize money.
Waller could be in for another big day in Queensland on Saturday with runners in both the other features on the program including the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m).
Contested over a shorter 2200m (down from 2400m) due to the change of racecourses, the Queensland Oaks field could feature as many as seven Waller-trained fillies.
His Australasian Oaks winner Egg Tart is the early favourite in Queensland Oaks odds at Ladbrokes.com.au as she shoots for a sixth straight win.
Last start The Roses runner-up at the Doomben track behind the Darren Weir-trained Kenedna, Oklahoma Girl is Waller’s other best fancied contender looking at the all-in Queensland Oaks betting markets.
Dawn Wall is also being kept safe in the markets after Waller’s declaration last week that the Oaks was still on the agenda for the daughter of Fastnet Rock whose last run was the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) victory at the Gold Coast on May 6.
Waller’s other Queensland Oaks entries are last start Wyong winner over 2100m Baysa, Cross Stitch coming off a second over 2000m at Randwick from last weekend, Invincibella out to improve on her The Roses sixth place finish and up-and-comer Kirini who is the roughie of the bunch.
“I wouldn’t say they’re all there with equal chances, but they’re all with their last chance to win some Black Type and obviously Group 1 status next to a filly is so important,” Waller, who won the 2015 Queensland Oaks with Winx, said of his contingent.
“Whatever we’ve got fit and ready to go will run in the Oaks.”
To back the Waller-trained runners across the Brisbane race card this weekend at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
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