Premiership winning trainer Chris Waller is hoping Counterattack has better luck than he got last start when he chases his first Group 1 win in the $500,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Counterattack was held up at a vital stage in the straight when a nose second to stablemate Mackintosh in the Group 2 $200,000 Task Retail Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on September 10.
That was Counterattack’s first run back since running seventh to Under The Louvre in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and Waller said that he was ready to run a strong 1400m at Caulfield.
“He was very unlucky in Sydney first-up, he probably should’ve won,” Waller told racing.com.
“He just got out a bit too late.”
“As a Group 1 non-winner, we’ve been trying to find the right handicap races.”
“He might just struggle at a mile, so the Rupert Clarke’s the perfect race.
“With a lead-up run coming into it, he should be at his peak fitness. 1400m is his best distance.”
“Saturday looks a very good chance for it.”
Waller said that Courterattack needs to have things go his way during the race and if he doesn’t get a good trail has a tendency to over-race and the champion trainer has plenty of faith in the ability of Craig Williams from barrier seven to find suitable cover in the run for the Redoute’s Choice four year old.
“He’s a horse that can fire up a bit and over-race if you make use of him too early into the race,” Waller said.
“Without cover, he can over-race a touch. But we’ve got a good jockey in Craig Williams aboard, so we’ll leave that to him.”
Top weight Under The Louvre has been announced a non-runner by trainer Robert Smerdon but is still in the betting at $7.50 for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Ladborkes.com.au with Counterattack at the top of the market order at $3.70.
The Darren Weir trained Voodoo Lad is marked at $4.60 to make it a hat trick of wins and Ciaron Maher’s last start winner Bon Aurum is also in contention at $6.50.
Market order for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.70 Counterattack, $4.60 Voodoo Lad, $6.50 Bon Aurum, $7.50 Under The Louvre, $10 Xtravagant, $11 Tivaci, $20 Thames Court, Telopea, $26 Fast ‘N’ Rocking, $31 Mr Individual, $34 Badawiya, $31 Charmed Harmony, $41 Well Spring, $51 Rangipo, $61 Jungle Edge.