Unbeaten colt Almalad is still in contention for the Group 1 $1m Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 13 as trainer Gai Waterhouse increases his workload following a short Winter break.
Almalad was sent to the paddock after keeping his slate clean with a win in the Group 1 $500,000 Tatts Group J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
The Al Maher youngster won his two previous starts as a two year old over 1000m at Gosford on debut in December and then resumed in the Autumn to win over 1200m at Randwick before heading to Queensland.
Waterhouse is steadily building up Almalad’s fitness and the leading Randwick trainer expects him to fit to trial in two weeks.
“Almalad is another two weeks away before he trials,” Waterhouse told The Daily Telegraph.
“He’s only had a couple of weeks off after Queensland so the Golden Rose might not be too early. He is an outstanding horse.’’
“He had a little let-up after that as all my Queensland horses did and he came back and he is really bouncing around Randwick.
“He is as fresh as a daisy and he is really going well.”
Even if Almalad isn’t ready to contest the first Group 1 of the Sydney Spring Carnival, Waterhouse will still head to Melbourne with the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 and the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 firmly etched into the three year old’s Spring program.
“His main aims are the Guineas and the Cox Plate,’’ Waterhouse said.
“I will set him for the Cox Plate.”
“I think that any of those horses that raced through those Group races in the winter are certainly horses that could contest the top races in Sydney and Melbourne.
“Three-year-olds have an outstanding record in the Cox Plate, absolutely outstanding.”
Waterhouse’s other Golden Rose hopefuls Valentia and Wandjina both trialled at Randwick today while Naylei won’t need another trial and will head to the Listed $100,000 The Rosebud (1200m) at Randwick next week after winning her 1050m Randwick trial on July 18.
“Valentia from the Coolmore group is a really nice colt and Wandjina, who will run in the San Domenico Stakes, is bigger and stronger now,’’ Waterhouse said.
“I’m not trialling Nayeli as she will go straight to The Rosebud to take on the `boys’.’’
Almalad is on the third line of betting at $9 with Ladbrokes.com.au for the Golden Rose Stakes while Nayeli is marked at $17 and Valentia and Wandjina are both listed at $34.
The John O’Shea trained Earthquake heads the market order at $6 just ahead of Golden Slipper winner Mossfun at $7.50.