Champion trainer Gai Waterhouse has no problems stepping the lightly raced Almalad up to 1600m when he takes on Group 1 company in the $500,000 J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Almalad has only raced twice for two wins and Waterhouse was quick to pencil in the J.J. Atkins after the gelding scored a three and a half lengths win over his two stablemates Sports Edition and Ravenwitch in the $85,000 TAN Early Quaddie Plate for the two year olds over 1200m at Randwick on May 24.
The Al Maher youngster also scored at his first race start over 1000m at Gosford on December 27.
But the ever confident Waterhouse has no worries about taking on the top two year old company as well as stepping up sharply in distance after his Randwick win.
“He is a very exciting horse. It won’t worry him,” Waterhouse said.
“The step up to 1600 metres will not be a problem.”
“He just put a couple of lengths on them in a twinkle.”
“This horse showed great ability when he won at Gosford six months ago.”
Tommy Berry will return from a riding contract in Hong Kong to ride at Eagle Farm on Saturday and will team up with Waterhouse again and ride Almalad in the J.J. Atkins.
The young jockey will also ride the Gary Portelli trained Rebel Dane in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), replacing Glen Boss who rides the favourite Srikandi and Berry will also take over from Jason Collett on Elusive Runner in the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m).
Almalad is currently the $4.50 second favourite in the Ladbrokes.com.au J.J. Atkins market order with the Chris Waller trained Brazen Beau the top pick at $2.20.
Local colt Looks Like The Cat is next in the betting at $7 just shading Victorian colt Pressing at $8, Careless and Time For War at $9 and Mohave at $10.