The Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) is the feature race running at Warwick Farm this Saturday, with 16 horses set to tackle the mile in the first Group One race in Sydney of the year.
Nine of the 16 nominated horses belong to top Sydney trainer Chris Waller, who is attempting to win the race an unprecedented fifth consecutive time.
The late Guy Walter won the Chipping Norton four years in a row from 1999 with Tie The Knot, however his record could soon be usurped. Waller began his winning streak with Danleigh in 2011 before Shot Out won the next two years and Boban taking out the race last year.
“We will have quite a few runners and Boban will be among them,” Waller told Sky Racing.
“Weary, Junoob and Hawkspur will also be there and perhaps a few others.”
Boban is set to return to Warwick Farm to defend his title on Saturday, after the five-year-old gelding won one length ahead of Dundeel last year. It was also the last time Boban one a race so the gelding will be looking to break his drought as well as defend his title in the 2015 Chipping Norton Stakes.
The gelding had a bleeding attack in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) six weeks later and finished second last before running outside the placings in all four of his starts during the spring.
Boban has already had two starts this campaign, including running just three lengths behind Contributer in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) last Saturday. The pair could once again face off after the John O’Shea-trained horse was also nominated for the Chipping Norton.
Waller’s nine-horse contingent is led by Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) winner Foreteller. The trainer’s other nominated horses include Beaten Up, who ran second last in the CF Orr Stakes on February 14, Hawkspur, Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) winner He’s Your Man, Junoob, Opinion, Weary, and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) third Who Shot Thebarman.
Weary is the trainer’s fittest potential runner. The gelding won the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) first-up on January 31 before running third in the Apollo Stakes. Meanwhile stablemates Boban, Foreteller, Hawkspur, He’s Your Man, and Junoob all ran unplaced in the same race.
Despite dominating the 2015 Chipping Norton Stakes nominations, Waller does not have the highest-rated runner. That is held by Roger James, whose six-year-old mare Silent Achiever has a handicap rating of 116.
Silent Achiever is a four-time Group One winner but has not had a win since the Group 1 BMW (2400m) last autumn, despite six subsequent starts.
Other horses nominated for the Chipping Norton Stakes include Fiveandahalfstar, who resumed in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) last Saturday after 22 months on the sidelines, Kris Lees’ talented mare Lucia Valentina, and Apollo Stakes runner-up Ninth Legion.