Chris Waller’s three year olds Cellarman and Nikitas will be on trial for the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes when they contest the Group 2 $175,000 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Cellarman is a winner of one race from three starts and Waller is keen to find out if the Mossman colt has improved on his win in the Listed $100,000 Wintergarden Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 25.
“The Run To The Rose will tell us if Cellarman has made sufficient improvement to run in the Golden Rose,” Waller told AAP.
“It’s a big step from two to three.”
Nikitas will be having his first run for the Waller stable after being prepare in Queensland by leading Eagle Farm trainer Kelso Wood.
Nikitas was able to earn just over $450,000 from one win and three placings from six starts with a huge portion of that prizemoney coming from a second to Capitalist in the $2m Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast in January.
The Snitzel colt was also placed third to Attention in the Group 2 $250,000 Mitavite BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) at Doomben during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
“Nikitas is a nice horse. He is still fairly new to the stable and we are still learning about him,” Waller said.
The Run To The Rose has attracted fourteen nominations and will provide a great dress rehearsal for the Group 1 $1m Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill two weeks later.
The Run To The Rose nominations includes the brilliant first up winner Star Turn from the Team Hawkes stable and the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained El Divino who is resuming.
Star Turn was very impressive in winning the Group 3 $150,000 Smithfield RSL Club San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on August 13, leaving in his wake the short priced Golden Slipper winner Capitalist.
El Divino has been prepared for his return to the race track with two barrier trials and also looked tremendous in an exhibition gallop in between races at Randwick last Saturday.
In early betting for The Run To The Rose at Ladbrokes.com.au, Star Turn shares the top spot at $4.60 with the John O’Shea trained Impending while Nikitas at $35 and Cellarman at $41 are two of the outsiders of the field.
Early market order for The Run To The Rose at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Impending, Star Turn, $5 Astern, El Divino, $6 Mediterranean, $10 Good Standing, Telperion, $21 Leotie, $31 Manolo Blahniq, $35 Nikita, $41 Cellarman, Tessara, $101 Gadfly, $151 Lilac Lane.