The first of Chris Waller’s 2011 Epsom Handicap team will be on show at Royal Randwick this Saturday with Triple Elegance lining up in the Group 3 Missile Stakes.
He was to be joined by stable mate and fellow Epsom Handicap hopeful Pressday in the race but Waller has decided to start them up one at a time on their spring campaigns.
Triple Elegance will face a stern first up test in the Missile Stakes with likes of Pinwheel, Neeson, Rain Affair and Squamosa all presenting big challenges.
It’s the type of challenge the horse will have to overcome though if he’s to rise to Group 1 level and be a real threat in the Epsom Handicap later in the year.
Waller came close to presenting a double threat in the race with Pressday very nearly doing enough to warrant his inclusion.
As late as Monday morning Waller was still rating him a chance.
“Pressday’s fitness is almost where I need it to be and if he works well he will definitely race on Saturday,” Waller said.
“If he has a good blow after the gallop then we might wait for the following week.”
In the end the later occurred and it will be later in August when Pressday is unveiled.
He was the enemy of plenty of punters throughout the Autumn after performing so well previously, his Sandown Guineas win showing just how good he can be.
Since then though things just didn’t turn out as planned.
“We only gave Pressday three starts in the autumn because I just wasn’t happy where he was mentally,” Waller said.
“He’s a much better horse than what he was showing. We were just going nowhere, so we backed off and pulled up stumps early. He seems to have come back really well, although he is a hard horse to get a line on.”
Triple Elegance meanwhile has been in great shape, he won the Liverpool City Cup and came close to Group 1 success when he ran third in the George Ryder Stakes.
“Triple Elegance usually races well fresh and he made massive progress last autumn.
“I wouldn’t be game enough to say he has improved but he certainly hasn’t gone backwards.”
Both horses are to be trained with the 2011 Epsom Handicap in mind, in fact the Waller stable could be sending a third horse to join them as well.
Red Tracer is fresh of his first barrier trial for this season and the Epsom Handicap may not be out of her reach either.
She’s won five races from just nine starts including the Bell Stakes and the Carr Stakes over the Autumn.
Waller is said to be very fond of the horse but the 1600m of the Epsom Handicap is his only concern.
“The Epsom is the race we will target with her but I’m still worried she might not get a mile (a1600m),” Waller said.
“I’m sure her form will be good going into the Epsom and then we will find out that day if she gets the mile.”
Waller has proven time and time again that he’s the man to follow in Sydney and after his domination of last year’s Sydney Trainers Premiership who could disagree.
If you want to ride the journey with him then it looks like there will be plenty to choose from his stable in the 2011 Epsom Handicap.
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