Emerging sprinting star Rain Affair looks to have a mortgage on Saturday’s $250,000 Hako Australia Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill but premier trainer Chris Waller is not ready to totally concede the weight for age Group 2.
Waller will be saddling up four runners in the Apollo and expects good performances from all of them although he says it will be hard to turn the tables on Rain Affair after his four lengths trouncing of his rivals in the Group 2 $200,000 TAB Sportsbet Expressway Stakes at Rosehill two weeks ago.
With a perfect record on rain affected tracks trainer Joe Pride decided to stay in Sydney where the Rosehill track is currently rated a slow 7.
Pride had contemplated taking on Group 1 company in the $500,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield but when the rain arrived in Sydney the choice was made easy.
But it hasn’t been made easy for Rain Affair’s rivals at Rosehill who will have a herculean task to turn the tables on the flying four year old.
Former Queensland trained Shoot Out ran an eye catching third to Rain Affair when running home strongly in the Expressway when having his first start for Waller and is expected to strip a lot fitter on Saturday.
“I was pretty soft on him leading into the Expressway but he’s got that class factor,” he said. “Horses like this run well regardless of their fitness levels.
“He’s come on since that run so he’ll be more competitive second-up over 1400 metres.”
And Waller expects a better showing from Rangirangdo who failed to beat a runner home in the Expressway at his first run back from a long spell after winning the Group 1 $400,000 The Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill last April.
“Rangirangdoo is fitter, his work has been good,” Waller said.
“Going into his second-up run last prep, we thought he was still one run away and I maintain he’s in a similar position this prep but he did win the George Ryder.
“I think he’ll be safely held on Saturday but he’s set to be pretty close for his third-up run in the Chipping Norton.
“We’ll get a good line on him Saturday.”
Multiple Group 1 winner Danleigh, who won the Apollo two years ago, is another of Waller’s who will benefit greatly from his outing in the Expressway when he finished midfield to Rain Affair.
He’s taken benefit from that first-up run,” he said. “He’ll appreciate a faster run 1400 metre race.
“He’s a weight-for-age horse every day of the week and I think he’ll appreciate the track improving a little.
“This is probably his pet distance.”
And Waller will be happy if his stayer Hawk Island will be catching up to the field at some stage in the straight having his first run since the Melbourne Cup.