Classy mare Royal Descent will continue to build towards the 2013 Caulfield Cup (2400m) when she contests the Group 3 Tramway Stakes(1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Earlier in her preparation it looked as though the dominant Australian Oaks winner would be heading towards the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) but trainer Chris Waller now has his sight set firmly on the Caulfield Cup with the daughter of Redoute’s Choice after she was allocated a handicap of just 52.5kg for the $2.5 million race.
Royal Descent started her 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a gust second behind stablemate Hidden Kisses in the Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1300m) and will only step up slightly in distance as Waller attempts to conserve the four-year-olds energy for her major spring target.
“She is fitter and we have purposely kept her back in distance to get some mileage into her without overtaxing her,” Waller told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“The first race that will really suit her will be the Turnbull in Melbourne and that will give us a good guide as to where she fits in, with the view of a Caulfield Cup.
“That will be a race where she gets in well at the weights and she should be guaranteed a run.
“That is her main aim and tomorrow is a good step in that direction but I’m hoping that she is still sharp enough to perform over the 1400.”
The Tramway Stakes will be a tough assignment for Royal Descent as she must carry 58 kilograms against a field that includes multiple Group 1 winners including stablemates Shoot Out and Sacred Falls.
Both Shoot Out and Sacred Falls will begin their campaigns in the Tramway Stakes and Waller is expecting both to be very competitive in their first-up assignment.
Waller withdrew Shoot Out from the Warwick Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago because of concerns about his fitness levels but he is now happy with the condition of the seven-year-old.
“His progression has been slow, he has taken quite a while to get fit this preparation,” Waller said of the five-time Group 1 winner.
“He looks better than he has ever done, we have struggled to put weight on and get him to hold it but this time he has held onto it very well.
“It is the right race for him tomorrow with barrier one.”
Sacred Flyer will be returning to the races for the first time since his memorable victory on a heavy track in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and Waller is hoping the former New Zealand-trained galloper can improve again this campaign.
“Being a New Zealand-based horse you would expect his four-year-old season to be close to his best,” the leading trainer said.
“If he can just take the next step up again he will be right up there with the spring horses.
“Barrier nine shouldn’t worry him, he gets back anyway, and he will be attacking the line late.”
Waller is chasing his second victory in the Tramway Handicap after winning the race with stable favourite Rangirangdoo in 2009.