Sydney’s leading horseman Chris Waller is already making an impact in the Melbourne Group 1’s this spring carnival and believes his dual elite level champ Foreteller can continue that success with a Caulfield Stakes upset this Saturday.
Winner of the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in Sydney during the autumn, Dansili gelding Foreteller scored their second major second-up this prep, this time in Melbourne.
In a devastatingly close finish the six-year-old had just a nose to spare over Melbourne Cup fancy Puissance De Lune when winning the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 7.
Something went amiss at their latest start at Caulfield however, Foreteller only managing to finish five lengths away 12th behind Kiwi champ It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) on September 21.
Waller believes there’s improvement to come when they return to the track this weekend however with Foreteller unsuited to the slow pace in a big field that was the case in the Underwood.
“It is a small field on Saturday, it suits him tactically,” Waller told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“He won’t be too far out of his ground. That was his undoing in the Underwood. It was ran at slow pace and it was a big field, he got a long way back, ran well but still finished at the tail.”
The Murray Baker-trained It’s A Dundeel defeated odds-on favourite, the previously undefeated Atlantic Jewel, in the Underwood.
They won’t be back for another go however having suffered a hoof abscess that only burst on Monday.
But while Mark Kavanagh’s super mare Atlantic Jewel is again odds-on for the $400,000 Group 1 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) this weekend, Waller believes she is beatable again.
And he’s tipping his hopeful to get the job done in a win for the bookies.
Last weekend at Melbourne’s Flemington meet Waller’s Caulfield Cup favourite Hawkspur ran a solid trial for Saturday week’s classic when a close fifth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
This weekend he’s after the Group 1 trophy with a horse is warns is an underrated weight-for-age performer who he says is well suited to the 2000m at Caulfield.
“I’m pleased he is running here and not last week [in the Turnbull] because it was the same [as the Underwood],” Waller explained.
“People seem to forget he [Foreteller] is a multiple Group 1 winner and ran second in the Doomben Cup, so he is very well performed over this trip under these conditions.
“His form at 2000m is very good and he won twice at Caulfield.”
Foreteller’s Caulfield wins were in the Group 2 Peter Young (1800m) back in February this year and before that in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) during the 2011 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Atlantic Jewel is the $1.40 favourite and market mover for the Caulfield Stakes.
Foreteller is then at $10, a nice price in a WFA race with no standout WFA performers this season according to Waller.
“They are a very even bunch at weight-for-age this year,” he said
“There hasn’t been a dominant horse, a different horse is winning each week.”
While still officially in the mix for all the Melbourne majors, if all goes to plan this weekend Waller said he was leaning towards the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 with Foreteller.
“The idea of running on Saturday is that you can run in the Cox Plate,” he said.
“Obviously he would have to win or run second to be worthy of taking that extra step.
“The slightly easier option would be the Mackinnon.”
The $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) runs at Flemington Racecourse on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday November 2, on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.