Weary will have the chance to become the third horse in the four years to complete the Apollo Stakes/Expressway Stakes double after he returned to his best form with a fast-finishing win in the 2015 Expressway Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Gai Waterhouse-trained Driefontein looked like the winner of the Expressway Stakes when she sprinted away from her rivals at the 400 metre mark and Weary looked like he could miss the placings at the 200 metre mark, but the imported galloper picked up strongly in the final 100 metres to get his nose in front of Driefontein in the shadows of the post.
Weary stamped himself as a genuine Group 1 contender when he finished in the placings in both the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but he failed to fire in three race starts during his spring campaign.
Trainer Chris Waller admitted after the Expressway Stakes that Weary had been a very frustrating to train in the spring, but he revealed that the Astronomer Royal’s new found relationship with a stable pony had helped the five-year-old return to his best form.
“Weary has given us a few headaches,’’ Waller told the media after the race.
“I thought he was a genuine Epsom horse or even a Cox Plate horse last spring but he didn’t find anything like best form.
“He’s actually a good horse to have around the stable, he’s not a problem, but he has a quirky nature and at trackwork every morning he doesn’t want to gallop.
“I’ve never had one like him as most of our horses enjoy trackwork as we are not hard on them.
“So, we started using a pony with him and it has helped to settle him down.
“He still has his moments but his quirks were more pronounced last spring.”
Weary was joined in the 2015 Expressway Stakes field by stablemates Bagman (seventh), Beaten Up (eighth), Boban (ninth) and Hawkspur (tenth) and they were never able to get into the race, but Waller is confident that Bagman, Beaten Up and Hawkspur would take plenty of benefit from the run and would join Weary in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 14.
Appearance (2014), Rain Affair (2012), Lonhro (2003), Kidman’s Cove (1999) and Diamond Shower (1987) have all completed the Apollo Stakes/Expressway Stakes double in the past thirty years.