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SYDNEY RACING HITS ROCK BOTTOM - NEEDS WALLER HORSES TO PROP UP SATURDAY MEETING
CHRIS Waller has come to the rescue of his hometown Rosehill Gardens meeting on Saturday with his multiple runners propping up three of the four opening races.
CHRISTIAN NICOLUSSI reports in the DAILY TELEGRAPH that the premier trainer has six of the nine runners entered for the Alpha Flight Services Handicap (2000m), although Campanolgy was likely to be scratched in favour of Canterbury on Friday night.
While Waller will be at Moonee Valley chasing his first Cox Plate with Sacred Falls, Royal Descent and Foreteller, he will make sure he tunes into a TV to watch some of his army of runners who will be on trial for a late Melbourne cameo.
Saigon Tea, Forever Crazy and Grand Marshal are three horses in the staying race who will push on to Flemington next start.
Wine Tales, one of three Waller runners in the seven-horse opener, is also being aimed at the Gucci Stakes on Oaks Day.
While Waller often comes under criticism for his ever-growing city numbers on a Saturday, the first half of the Rosehill program could have looked very bleak without him.
“A lot of our horses aren’t exactly suited to these races, but it’s hard to wait around and wait for the right race to come along,’’ Waller said on Wednesday at the Kensington meeting.
“My horses are often soft going into their preparations, and they need to run to keep them fit.
“In that 2000m race, the two fillies, Forever Crazy and Saigon Tea, will hopefully run in a Group race on the final day of the carnival at Flemington. I’d rather run them here on Saturday and make sure they’re 100 per cent before they go down.
“Pythagorean has won his past two races and is going well, and I would have liked to have raced him over the mile, but there was no race suitable over that distance, so we’ll see how he goes over 2000m.
“Grand Marshal has had his last two runs over 1900m and 2000m, and he is screaming out for 2400m, but I have to keep running him. He’ll run over 2800m on Cup day.’’
Trainers love to protect strike rates and wait for a suitable race to win. But Waller has repeatedly said he’s happy to run for second, third and fourth prizemoney, and too often things could go wrong in the race picked off well in advance.
“You can get your horse cherry-ripe, but then it could rain, you draw a bad barrier and they don’t win anyway. That’s why we’ll send them around and try to win some money,’’ he said.
Chief steward Ray Murrihy said the hectic schedule this week around the Sydney region had obviously taken its toll on the first half of the Saturday program.
“We’ve got Kensington on Wednesday, Hawkesbury Thursday, Canterbury Friday night, Rosehill and Kembla Saturday then Wyong Sunday. It’s too much for the bank of horses we’ve got,’’ Murrihy said.
Heavyweights Aomen and Green Beret will create some interest later in the day when they try and lump a hefty 62kg with senior jockeys on board.
Aomen will run in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes should he perform well second-up on Aussie soil.
FAWKNER FIRMS TO FAVORITISM FOR COX PLATE AFTER DRAWING PERFECT BARRIER
COX Plate favourite Fawkner has been trimmed into $4 after drawing barrier four for Saturday's weight-for-age championship at Moonee Valley.
CHRIS ROOTS reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that a capacity field of 14 will run over 2040 metres with Mourinho and Chivalry missing out after 16 acceptances were taken.
"Nick [Hall] was that excited when I came back from drawing that gate [for Fawkner] I thought we had won the race," part-owner Nick Williams said.
While the favourite drew well, fairytale horse The Cleaner will jump from the outside gate but still looks the likely leader.
Dual Doncaster winner Sacred Falls drew gate nine, while Australian Derby winner Criterion, whose rider will be finalised once Hugh Bowman's appeal against a ban for an improper riding charge is heard on Tuesday, has barrier six.
James McDonald will ride Criterion if Bowman doesn't win his appeal.
"He is going to be midfield and we will leaving it to James or Hughie," Criterion's trainer David Payne said.
Meanwhile, up and coming Terravista is still at the top of betting for Friday night's Manikato Stakes.
The world's best rated sprinters Lankan Rupee remains second at $4 after drawing gate nine, while defending champion Buffering has gate four and is $6 chance.
SACRED FALLS (NZ) - 9
FAWKNER - 4
SIDE GLANCE (GB) - 7
HAPPY TRAILS - 2
FORETELLER (GB) - 1
THE CLEANER - 14
GUEST OF HONOUR (IRE) - 10
CRITERION (NZ) - 6
SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ) - 11
ROYAL DESCENT - 3
ADELAIDE (IRE) - 13
ALMALAD - 8
SWEYNESSE - 12
WANDJINA - 5
CAULFIELD CUP WINNER ADMIRE RAKTI UNLIKELY TO ATTRACT PENALTY FOR MELBOURNE CUP
EVERYTHING continues to fall into place for Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti, with doubts that the stayer will receive a significant penalty after his brave win on Saturday.
PATRICK BARTLEY reports in THE AGE that Admire Rakti carried 58 kilograms to win the Caulfield Cup and if Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter was to re-handicap Admire Rakti one kilogram, the Japanese stayer would have to be the first horse since Rain Lover in 1969 to carry 59 kilograms and win a Melbourne Cup.
And if Carpenter chose to just give the horse a half-kilogram, he would carry the same weight as Think Big in 1975.
No decision on a re-handicap will be announced before Monday.
Admire Rakti's extraordinary Caulfield Cup win will now see the Japanese stayer start a short-priced favourite for the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup. Owned in Osaka, Japan, Admire Rakti let down over the final 300metres so emphatically that bookmakers couldn't wait to make him favourite for the Melbourne Cup.
Just 48 hours ago it was feared the Japanese invasion on this year's major cups had stalled when its first selection in the $3.15 Caulfield Cup, Bande, had to be scratched with tendon issues.
Despite some pre-race difficulties, Admire Rakti gave Zac Purton his first Caulfield Cup at only his second attempt.
"That's why we ride in these big races – to win them and mix it with the very best riders of the time," Purton said.
Purton, based in Hong Kong, said that he hoped Admire Rakti would be able to cope with the extra 800 metres of the Melbourne Cup. "What I have on my side is that this horse [Admire Rakti] has won over 3400 metres," he said.
New Zealand trainer Donna Logan went within a long neck of a fairytale result when her staying mare Rising Romance finished second.
"I thought to myself with 50yards to go, 'shit I'm going to win a Caulfield Cup'. But all of a sudden the imported horse just grabbed me on the line," she said.
Rising Romance is not entered in the Melbourne Cup and she is now more than likely to head home to New Zealand for a spell before returning in the autumn.
The Peter Moody pair of Brambles and Lidari, who finished just behind the winner, may progress to the Melbourne Cup. But Lidari is yet to qualify for Australia's greatest race.
Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon compounded to finish ninth, while Sea Moon, who led in the early stages, struggled when the pressure went on and weakened to finish last.
Leading Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse said she would wait to see hows things settled before making any decision on her one-time Melbourne Cup favourite, The Offer, who finished 11th after making up some late ground. "Let's let the dust settle and have a good hard look at things on Sunday and we can make our minds up then."
Race favourite Lucia Valentina had no luck in the running and faced a huge task to win from an awkward position coming to the turn. But her chances were marred by mid-race interference.
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