The 2014 Canterbury Stakes is set to be a battle between Chris Waller and Guy Walter; with the leading Sydney trainers dominating the nominations for the Group 1 event that will be held at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Headlining the Canterbury Stakes nominations for Waller is talented colt Zoustar, who is set to make his first appearance at the races since he finished his spring preparation with a strong win in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
The Canterbury Stakes is expected to be the first of three Group 1 starts for Zoustar, as well as the T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and All Aged Stakes (1400m), before he heads to Royal Ascot for a tilt at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m).
Arguably the most interesting Waller-trained horse in the Canterbury Stakes nominations is veteran gelding My Kingdom Of Fife, who has not been seen at the races since he won the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) during the 2011 Spring Racing Carnival.
My Kingdom Of Fife has been kept away from the track due to tendon issues, but Waller is confident that the nine-year-old can return to his best form and he has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Sacred Falls is also set to return to the races in the Canterbury Stakes, while classy mare Red Tracer is a chance of stepping up to Group 1 level after starting her autumn campaign with a strong win in the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 1.
Leading the charge against Waller will be the classy Guy Walter-trained trio of Appearance, Streama and Toydini.
Appearance has been one of the star performers of the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival to date after scoring impressive wins in both the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 8 and the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
The talented mare is racing in excellent form and will have the opportunity to record her first open Group 1 victory when she contests the Canterbury Stakes this weekend.
Streama will be having the second start of her autumn campaign after resuming with a slightly disappointing fifth place finish in the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15, while Walter is hoping that Toydini can improve on his first-up run in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m).
Waller and Walter will not have a monopoly on the Canterbury Stakes; with Team Hawkes-trained Not Listen’tome set to contest the Group 1 event.
Not Listen’tome finished his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a second place finish in the Coolmore Stud Stakes and returned to the races with a dominant four lengths victory in the Group 3 Zeditave Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22.
Joseph Pride-trained Rain Affair and Apollo Stakes runner-up Speediness are the other horses that have been included in the Canterbury Stakes nominations.