Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller is set to dominate the Group 1 $350,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday in an effort to repeat last year’s result.
Waller combined with war horse Danleigh and jockey Hugh Bowman to take out last year’s weight for age race and along with last year’s winner has Shoot Out, Rangirangdoo and Hawk Island to boost his chances.
Bowman has been Shoot Out’s regular rider since being transfered from Queensland trainer John Wallace and has elected to stay with the five year old after the pair have combined for two sound placings.
Shoot Out has shown that he is not far away from a win when he got to the line okay behind sensational sprinter Rain Affair in the Group 2 $250,000 Hako Australia Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 25.
“Shoot Out’s been chasing home Rain Affair so that’s a pretty good formline,” Bowman said. “Both his runs this time in have been very good.”
Multiple Group 1 winner Danleigh can’t be written off and again will be ridden by Jim Cassidy who has been on the eight year old at his last two starts.
Danleigh showed that he too is starting to regain his old form with an eye catching third to Rain Affair in the Apollo and will appreciate a wet track if the rain hangs around.
Seven year old Rangirangdoo is struggling to find form but did pass a couple late in the Apollo to wind up in ninth spot behind Rain Affair after failing to beat a runner home in the Group 2 $200,000 TAB Sportsbet Expressway Stakes at Rosehill on February 11.
“A slow track would be perfect for Danleigh,” Waller said.
“A dead track would be ideal for all three.
“They have all done well. I think Rangirangdoo just lacked a bit of race fitness.”
Peter Robl takes over from Glyn Schofield on Rangirangdoo who is fitter for two runs from a spell and is stepping up to his favourite distance.
He has won three times at 1600m including the 2010 Group 1 $1.5m Emirates Doncaster Mile and two photo finish seconds in the 2009 Group 1 $350,000 Arrowfield Stud Epsom Handicap and the 2010 Group 1 $300,000 Patinack Farm Chipping Norton Stakes.
Waller’s other Chipping Norton nomination Hawk Island is likely to miss Saturday and start the following week over 2000m.
Last year’s Emirates Stakes winner Albert The Fat will be attempting to win the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday first up for Waller.
The seven year old hasn’t raced since the Emirates and jockey Nash Rawiller has taken the mount.
“Albert The Fat will go into the Newmarket first-up and it will be a hard race but I’m hoping he runs well,” Waller said.
“He will have a jump-out down the straight at Flemington on Tuesday.”
Waller said that Albert The Fat will only have one run in Melbourne and return to Sydney after the Newmarket to run in the Group 1 $400,000 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 7.