Trainer Chris Waller has stacked the deck in his favour to take out a third consecutive Group 1 $350,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday supplying eight of the seventeen nominations.
Waller’s star performer Shoot Out won the Chipping Norton last year and along with 2011 winner Danleigh head the leading trainer’s multiple entries with Group 1 winner Albert The Fat, last Saturday’s Rosehill winner Red Tracer, stayers Kellini and Gatewood and three year olds Tougher Than Ever and Sacred Falls.
Last year’s winner Shoot Out is Waller’s pick and he is not worried that the six year old will have to go into the 1600m weight for age race first up after being scratched from the Group 2 $250,000 Schweppes Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm last week because of the heavy track.
“Shoot Out is fit and he won over the Randwick mile first-up last time and that is a tougher course,” Waller said.
Waller produced Shoot Out first up last preparation to take out the Group 1 $350,000 George Main Stakes over the tough Randwick 1600m.
Shoot Out only had three runs in the Spring and was put out after running fifth to Ocean Park in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27.
Warhorse Danleigh always puts in an honest effort and can never be discarded and showed that he still has plenty of life in his nine year old legs with a fighting third to Alma’s Fury in the Apollo Stakes on a heavy 9 in which stablemate Tougher Than Ever nudged him out for second spot.
Kelinni , Gatewood and Albert The Fat all went around in the Apollo but Waller is prepared to dismiss their runs on the heavy track.
“Danleigh is always a tough competitor. For the others it’s hard to take much out of the race the other day because of the wet ground,” Waller said.
Waller is trying to work out import Gatewood and will more than likely keep him to middle distance races after winning the Group 3 $300,000 Centrebet Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong before missing out on a start in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6.
But another Melbourne Cup campaign is in the pipeline for Kelinni who ran a mighty race to finish fourth behind Green Moon last year.
“I think Gatewood is a middle distance horse and that’s what we will be doing with him,” Waller said.
“The autumn is important for Kelinni.”
“He’s headed to the BMW. To be competitive in a Melbourne Cup he has to be competitive in the BMW.
“If he’s not and he shows us that we can change and head to the Sydney Cup.”
Gai Waterhouse’s Group 1 winning import Glencadam Gold and last year’s Rosehill Guineas winner Laser Hawk are also among the entries for the Chipping Norton.
Glencadam Gold, who won the Group 1 $400,000 McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 6, and Laser Hawk both failed to handle the heavy track when well beaten first up in the Apollo Stakes at Warwick Farm on February 23.
And Melbourne ‘s premier trainer Peter Moody will kick off Manighar’s Autumn campaign in the Chipping Norton.