Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller dominates the nominations for the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday with nine of the eighteen entries from the leading stable.
First up Group 2 Expressway Stakes winner Weary heads Waller’s strong team along with Group 1 winners Beaten Up, Boban, Foreteller, Hawkspur, Opinion and He’s Your Man plus Junoob and Bagman.
Waller has also nominated 2013 Doomben Cup winner Beaten Up in the Group 1 $400,000 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday and is leaning towards sending him to Melbourne this weekend.
“I want to see him in Melbourne because the Australian Cup is the goal,” Waller told AAP.
Waller is happy with the way Beaten Up has recovered from his first up eighth to Weary in the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on January 31 and is keen to go onto the Group 1 $1m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14.
“He came through his first-up run really well,” Waller said.
Bagman, Foreteller and He’s Your Man are also nominated for the C.F. Orr Stakes.
Gai Waterhouse has nominated last year’s Group 1 Queen Of The Turf winner Diamond Drille as well as promising stayer Queenstown while Kris Lees will kick off the Autumn Carnival campaign of his dual Group 1 winner Lucia Valentina in the Apollo Stakes.
Lees is expecting a forward showing from Lucia Valentina after the mare won first up in the Spring beating smart sprinter Tiger Tees in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 6.
“This mare does sprint well fresh,’’ Lees told The Daily Telegraph.
“When she won the Tramway, she had the two trials and was pretty wound up.
“For the Apollo Stakes, she has had just the one trial but that said she has only had a short break after the Melbourne Cup but we are very happy with how she is coming up for the autumn.’’
Ninth Legion from the Hawkes Racing Stables showed he is in for a good Autumn Carnival with a first win in the Listed $100,000 Carrington Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on January 24 and will get his chance to shine again against some smarter opposition.
Gerald Ryan’s exciting sprinter Red Excitement has returned to Sydney for the Apollo Stakes after recording a narrow win in the Listed $120,000 Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on January 17.
Outstanding New Zealand mare Silent Achiever is also set to kick of her new campaign in the Apollo Stakes and trainer Roger James is hoping that the O’Reilly mare can find the same form this year as she did last year when she was one of the stars of 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Silent Achiever produced a Group 1 winning double at Rosehill last Autumn with wins in the $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and the $1.5m The BMW (2400m).
“She’ll run first-up in the Apollo Stakes on the fourteenth,” James said.
“Two weeks until the Chipping Norton and three weeks to the Ranvet.
“After that we have got to make a decision as to whether we go to the Queen Elizabeth or The BMW.”
The final field for the Apollo Stakes will be released on Wednesday, February 11.