Sydney’s premiership trainer Chris Waller will saddle up his first Cox Plate runner at Moonee Valley tomorrow and insists that Shoot Out isn’t just there to make up the numbers.
The four times Group 1 winner Shoot Out hasn’t come under very much discussion in the lead up to the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) with most of the attention being focused on the three year olds and the More Joyous barrier saga.
Waller’s Sydney rival Gai Waterhouse is trying to lift Pierro back into the winner’s list after going down to Cox Plate contender All Too Hard in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 13.
And as the three year old debate evolved, Waterhouse again gained the headlines when she upset prominent owner John Singleton when she selected barrier eleven for his glamour mare More Joyous earlier in the week.
As Waller prepares his first Cox Plate runner, he is certain that Shoot Out has had a solid preparation and is good enough to be very competitive.
“Although I’ve only been with this horse for the second half of his career, I’m proud to have him there after winning a couple of Group Ones,” Waller said.
“He’s not just making up the numbers.”
“I know I’ve got a weight-for-age horse, a horse who can run good time, a horse who has had the perfect preparation and a sound horse.”
“I’ve also got a good draw and a good jockey.”
Waller won’t be giving Hugh Bowman any specific instructions, leaving it up to the top jockey who knows the six year old well after being his regular rider since joining the Waller stable.
“I’ll leave it up to Hugh Bowman to work out where we sit and that will be determined by the pace,” Waller said.
“He’s a very versatile horse.”
Shoot Out will be having his second attempt at a Cox Plate after finishing a respectable fourth to So You Think two years ago when prepared by John Wallace at the Gold Coast and ridden by Corey Brown.
Waller primed Shoot Out to win his fourth Group 1 race and second for the stable, with a tough first-up win in the Group 1 $350,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 22 before finishing seventh with 58kg in the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 6.
Shoot Out is at the lucrative odds of $19 in the Cox Plate which sees Pierro head the market at $4.60 with Green Moon the next best at $5. Ocean Park is at $6.50 while More Joyous continues to firm and is currently a $7 chance in front of stablemate Proisir at $9.50 and All Too Hard at $10.