Tougher Than Ever Hitting Peak For Civic Stakes

By: Lucy Henderson
July 4th, 2014

Jockey Blake Shinn is confident his mount Tougher Than Ever will be hitting peak fitness when they line-up as one of five chances in Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) for Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller.

Waller has been in outstanding form again this past season and is well represented across the eight race Rosehill Gardens card again this weekend.

Holding the record for the highest number of wins in a season, Waller could be in line to break that having prepared on average at least three winners over the past six Saturdays in Sydney.

In 2012-13 he enjoyed a prolific 167 ½ winners, and is currently 21 under that.

But after enjoying five winners on May 31, and four in each of the past two Saturday meetings, Waller certainly looks like coming close again.

This weekend he’s out in force numbers wise once more including five gallopers lining up in the sole Sydney black-type.

Running as Rosehill Race 6 at 3:15pm (AEST), this year’s Civic Stakes field features 11 hopefuls with nearly half of those coming for Waller’s stable.

The Civic Stakes markets are currently led by the Grahame Begg-trained Bennetta, the four-year-old General Nediym mare tipped to bounce back after running fourth in the Group 3 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.

Tougher Than Ever is then the shortest priced of Waller’s Civic Stakes contingent sitting at a quote of around $7.

They are drawn in gate eight with Shinn in the saddle, replacing Nash Rawiller who rode the rising five-year-old stallion for their fourth to Scream Machine at the track on July 14 in the $85,000 Sydney Markets Limited Handicap (1400m).

Shinn rides the son of General Nediym for the first time on Saturday and is hoping for a positive result to help Waller surpass his own record.

“His stable is flying,” he told AAP.

“Obviously he’s trying to break his own record from last season and hopefully we can help him add another win towards achieving his record.”

New Zealand expat Tougher Than Ever, formerly prepared across the Tasman by Jason Bridgman, hasn’t won a race on Aussie soil yet.

Their last victory was back in September of 2012 when the Group 1 NZ Blue Diamond Stakes winner took out a Listed race at Ellerslie.

They joined Waller in Sydney at the start of last year and caught the eye with a number of promising early runs before their eighth to It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).

A failed two start Singapore campaign followed where they were well beaten in both runs before their Australian return in May this year.

“He should be hitting peak fitness now,” Shinn said.

“His last run was a good, solid effort running fourth, he just got collared in the latter stages of the race and he should be ready to put his best foot forward on Saturday.”

Waller’s other Civic Stakes hopes meanwhile are 59kg top weight Tromso, Coup Ay Tee, Hidden Kisses in the outside barrier coming off a first-up fourth in the Winter Dash and European import He’s Your Man.

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