Trainer Chris Waller believes that Sacred Falls is a much stronger horse ahead of his return to racing in the 2014 Canterbury Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Sacred Falls has not been seen at the races since he finished fifth behind stablemate Boban in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 9, but has performed well in two barrier trials at Rosehill Gardens; finishing fifth behind Red Tracer in a trial over 900 metres on February 18 before winning over 1030 metres on March 4.
Waller told Racing Ahead this morning that Sacred Falls had taken plenty of benefit out of his time in the spelling paddock and is expecting the O’Reilly entire to perform well in the 2014 Canterbury Stakes this weekend.
“I am very happy,” Waller said.
“He is a bit stronger this prep and he is carrying a bit more weight.
“He had a longer spell after Melbourne, hence the reason why he is starting a little late, but he just needed that bit of extra time.
“He is probably a little bit soft, but horses like him will keep those young three-year-olds up to the mark; he is no slouch.
“He has won two Group 1 races, he is always competitive and he handles all going, so he will keep them honest.”
Sacred Falls will be given the opportunity to become the first horse to win the Doncaster Mile in back-to-back-years since Pharaoh in 1995, but Waller revealed that the four-year-old will also contest the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 19, which will be the first time he has ran over 2000 metres since he finished second behind It’s A Dundeel in last year’s Group 1 Rosehill Guineas.
Waller has always been of the opinion that Sacred Falls would perform well over 2000 metres as an older horse and said that it had just been a matter of allowing him to mature into a bigger and stronger horse.
“He will back-up a week later in the Queen Elizabeth to give him a trial over 2000 metres,” Waller said.
“It has just been a matter of waiting for him to mature.
“He looked poor after the spring and we actually sent him back to New Zealand to spell.
“Fortunately he did well over there and he is certainly a lot stronger than he was last year.
“He got away with winning a Doncaster, but that was because he was a good horse with a light weight.”