Premiership winning trainer Chris Waller has a great chance of winning the first Stakes race of the new racing season when he saddles up three runners in the Listed $100,000 The Paslode Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Waller will wrap up his fifth Sydney trainer’s premiership at the completion of today’s last Metropolitan race meeting at Canterbury as well as being the champion Group 1 trainer of the 2014 – 2015 season with fourteen winners at the top level.
Last start winner Rugged Cross, You’ll Never and Eigelstein will go around for Waller in the Winter Challenge and are three of the stable’s fifteen acceptors for Sydney’s first race meeting for the 2015 – 2016 season.
Rugged Cross is coming off a win in the Listed $100,000 Sydney Markets Limited Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on July 18 and has drawn favourably at barrier two with Brenton Avdulla retaining the mount.
You’ll Never will jump from gate seven with Blake Shinn in the saddle and was beaten two and three quarter lengths when seventh to Rugged Cross in the Winter Stakes.
Eigelstein ran his best race from four starts this campaign when third to Kenjorwood in the $85,000 Shoot Our Mile (1600m) at Randwick on July 11 and has drawn barrier eight in the ten horse field with Glyn Schofield to ride.
Winter racing is well below the standard of the rich Carnivals, but Waller still strives for his horses to perform well and said horses like Rugged Cross get their chance to step up and earn some prizemoney.
“He’s no superstar, but he’s a very important horse to our stable,” Waller said following Rugged Cross’ Winter Stakes win.
“They constantly win prizemoney and when you get good draws and a well-timed run they win.
“If they don’t get all of those things they don’t win, but they run a nice race.
“It’s what winter racing is about as well.
“It’s not just about the carnival horses, but this horse also won a restricted race during the Carnival.
“It not only delivers a thrill by winning on a big day and now he’s won a listed race.
“He’s been a very good horse to us.”
Peter and Paul Snowden have accepted with two runners, Disclaimer with Kerrin McEvoy and Great Esteem with Tim Clark booked to ride.
Disclaimer has drawn barrier nine and will be having his first run since finishing fifth to Tremec in the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on April 6.
Great Esteem (barrier 4) has been racing well in restricted class with seconds at his last two starts at Rosehill and Canterbury under big weights and will drop to 54kg with Tim Clark to take the mount.
Peter Moody will saddle up Noela’s Choice who was a winner two starts back in a 1600m BenchMark 80 Handicap at Randwick before running fifth to Rugged Cross at Rosehill and will jump from gate ten with apprentice Regan Bayliss in the saddle.