Chris Waller could be on the path to discovering yet another Epsom Handicap contender should Altius continue his impressive form line over the next few weeks.
After running a place on debut for the Waller stable Altius has won two in a row leading into a solid Benchmark 90 race over 1500m this weekend at Rosehill.
If we were to return another victory connections have indicated that they’ll send him north for some black type experience, another good run and the Epsom could be on the cards.
“Provided he continues to do well we’ll just keep stepping him up through the grades,” Stable Representative Liam Prior said.
A good run this Saturday and the next grade on the list is likely to be the Group 3 Cameron Handicap over 1500m at Newcastle on the 14th of September.
“If he can win next start a race like the Cameron would be right up his alley,” Prior said.
That race would be the main evaluation of any Epsom Handicap charge.
“He would obviously have to equip himself well in a race like the Cameron,” Prior said.
“At the moment were just stepping him up through the grades and if he can continue to do that we could find himself in a race like the Epsom with a light weight.
“The Randwick mile is a tough mile and he has shown in the past he can get over a bit of ground. If he can perform well again next start up in grade we would be mad not to think it is a race for him.”
Altius is a four year old entire and as a half brother to both Elvstroem and Haradasun a black type victory would make him a hugely attractive stallion prospect.
“As a colt he is a true gentleman,” Prior said.
“He has a great temperament and hopefully he can go onto bigger and better things and continue the success for the family.”
“Circles Of Gold [dam], the success she has had on the racetrack is unbelievable. He is obviously very well bred with good relations, if he was to go on and win a race like that [Epsom Handicap] he would make a very successful transition to stud.”
Altius was formerly trained by Tony Vasil with the owners transferring him to Waller hoping that a change of techniques might be what he needed to kick start his career.
“They are really terrific owners, Frank Tagg, Frank Meduri and Gary Moffitt,” Prior said.
“They just leave it to us and it is really good dealing with guys like them that have obviously had such tremendous success on the racetrack.”
If Altius were to amke it as far as the Epsom Handicap he’d be in the company of as many as three stabemates.
Foreteller, Triple Elegance and Red Tracer are all set to represent the Waller camp in the Epsom as they start up again in the spring.
Forteller is one which has received plenty of attention already.
“He [Foreteller] will probably go to a 1300m race on September 10,” Prior said.
“We will freshen him right up, drop him back in distance and top him off nicely before he probably goes to the Epsom.”
While he is yet another European import for Waller, his style of racing is slightly different to what we’ve seen in the past and more indicative of the new tactics being employed by the stable.
“We’re buying horses the last 12 to 24 months with higher ratings and also stretching our horizons to not just horses coming out of England but also France and Ireland,” Prior said.
“A lot of them when they get here are still pretty one paced but if you can train a bit of speed into them and they respond well they can carry that through to their races as they have a better turn of foot.
“We’ve changed the dimension a bit with what we’re looking for. Instead of buying solely the mile and a quarter to mile and a half horses now we are also looking for the imported horses who can be competitive over the 1600m distance or event shorter and it seems to be working at the moment.”
He’s won three in a row since his arrival in Australia and there’s no reason that can’t continue into his new campaign.
“After a short break he has come back and is in terrific order,” Prior said.
“He is going really well and we are really happy with him.
“He was a horse who had a much higher rating than what we had bought in the past. We are buying horses who have higher ratings.
“His first Australian start was straight into Saturday grade whereas before we had horses who commenced in the midweeks where they could win two or three races before stepping up to Saturday class.
“He came over here with a rating close to 90. With his latest wins his rating is now up to 106/107.”