Equal Golden Slipper favourite Performer will be in the spotlight for the first time this Autumn when he takes his place in the Group 3 $150,000 Toyota Material Handling Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Canonbury Stakes for the two year old colts and geldings has only attracted a small field of five with Performer drawing in the middle at barrier three.
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy takes over from the suspended Hugh Bowman who was aboard the Chris Waller trained colt at his only race start when he debuted for a win in the Listed $150,000 Arrowfield Breeders’ Plate (1000m) at Randwick on September 30.
Waller’s racing manager Charlie Duckworth said that Performer has developed physically since his win in the Breeders’ Plate and will go to the post on Saturday a much more mature race horse who has won both his recent barriers trials at Rosehill in preparation for his return to the race track.
“He’s taller, stronger and put on a considerable amount of weight,’’ Duckworth told Racing New South Wales News.
“He’s a more mature colt. We never tightened the screws at all last preparation, he did it on raw ability and that’s the reason why we didn’t tighten the screws because we had to allow his body to develop and strengthen.
“It gets everyone excited because it’s not in Chris’s methods of training to put them under pressure to win these early races.’’
“Everything else has been perfect. He’s still unbeaten, whether it be races or trials. So far as we’re all concerned we still think he is the one to beat.’’
Bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au have Performer currently sharing the top spot at $7 with Magic Millions 2yo Classic winner Sunlight for the Group 1 $3.5m Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 24.
An impressive win by the Exceed And Excel colt could see him become the outright favourite for the world’s richest two year old race.
Last year’s Golden Slipper winning trainer Gary Portelli will saddle up two runners in the Canonbury Stakes, Dio D’Oro who drew barrier four with Jason Collett to ride and first starter Exceltic with Corey Brown from gate two.