Former British stayer Carlton House may have finished 13th in his only Australian start to date but trainer Gai Waterhouse remains confident he can be a major player this spring.
The rising six-year-old, who is owned by the Queen, was sent to the paddock after being beaten by 5 1/2 lengths in the Ajax Stakes in March. But the Randwick trainer believes he is now much more settled in his new surrounds and will set him on a path towards some of the spring’s biggest races.
“Anticipation is extremely high regarding Carlton House’s return,” Waterhouse said on her website.
A Group 2 winner in the UK, Carlton House is now well into his preparation for the spring, impressing trackwork rider Neil Paine on Thursday morning.
What Carlton House has shown early in his preparation along with his record in the UK are key reasons the always-optimistic Waterhouse is dreaming big with the son of Street Cry.
“Neil Paine’s best [ride of the morning] was Carlton House who galloped over 1400m, coming home his last 200m in 12.8 seconds,” Waterhouse said.
“One year ago Carlton House ran second to So You Think in a Group 1 in England, beaten just two lengths. In third that day was Reliable Man. This horse has since won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.”
Carlton House is set to form part of a strong Waterhouse-trained team heading towards the Melbourne Cup. Considered the holy grail of Australian racing, the $6.2 million staying test has so far eluded Waterhouse.
Heading the high profile trainer’s Melbourne Cup team is last year’s runner-up Fiorente who returned for one start in the autumn with an impressive third in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes over an unsuitable 1400m trip.
An $11 second favourite in the early Melbourne Cup market, Waterhouse is confident he is on track to going one better in Australia’s biggest race this year.
“Fiorente is getting regular praise from the trackwork jockeys and he is well on his way to the first Tuesday in November,” Waterhouse said.