Grey mare Catkins will be able to use her inside barrier to great advantage as she strives to win her maiden Group 1 in the $500,000 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
From three attempts to win at Group 1 level Catkins has recorded two placings and a sixth and trainer Chris Waller knows her time is getting closer.
Waller is happy to draw the rails in any race and said that Catkins versatility will give jockey Hugh Bowman the option of being up with the leaders and taking a sit just behind the pace.
“You can’t win Group 1s sitting three wide, so I’m happy with barrier one,’’ Waller told The Daily Telegraph.
“She’s versatile, she’s got gate speed, but she can also relax and take a sit if she wants. The Coolmore was the early plan, but once she won her first two runs (this campaign), she was going to struggle to win that race (because of her weight). That run may have also flattened her.’’
Waller had targeted the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 22 for Catkins in the Autumn but after winning her two previous starts was humped with 58kgs and according to Waller that was enough to affect her chances.
After winning the Group 2 $175,000 NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill and the Group 3 $150,000 Wiggle Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm, Catkins ran a brave race to finish third to tearaway leader Steps In Time and Sweet Idea in the Coolmore Classic.
The Dubawi mare then followed that up with a win in the Group 2 $175,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Emancipation Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 5 before finishing sixth to Diamond Drille in the Group 1 $1m Cellarbrations Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 19.
Catkins’ other Group 1 placing was when she ran a close second to stablemate Red Tracer in the Group 1 $500,000 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington during last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Catkins has recovered from a slight setback that saw her miss a start in the Group 2 $200,000 VIRBAC Animal Health Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7 but Waller is confident that the mare will be in top condition on Saturday.
“She will be fine,” Waller said.
“She banged a leg and had to be treated for it.
“She galloped last Wednesday and again on Saturday and the reports are all good.”
With the Tattersall’s Tiara being the last Group 1 of the racing season, Waller has already claimed the title for the most of Group 1 winners with eight, two ahead of Gai Waterhouse, and will also saddle up Red Tracer and She’s Clean as he chases his ninth win at the top level this season.
Red Tracer, with regular rider Nash Rawiller in the saddle, will be attempting to win back to back Tattersall’s Tiaras and will strip a lot fitter after a first up tenth to River Lad in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7.
While She’s Clean is stepping up sharply in class after being unplaced at her two runs in Listed company during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
In a tight betting race, the Gai Waterhouse filly Cosmic Endeavour is the $5 favourite for the Tattersall’s Tiara with Ladbrokes.com.au, slightly ahead of Red Tracer at $5.50 and Catkins and Steps In Time who share the next line of betting at $6.
Driefontein, also from the Waterhouse stable, is also in contention at $11.