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Waller's 3YO war far from over

4 min read

By Bren O'Brien

Round 1 may have gone to Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar {Aus}) but trainer Chris Waller is adamant the title of his best 3-year-old is far from decided after mixed fortunes for his runners in both the G2 Stan Fox S. and the G2 Run To The Rose on Saturday.

The Autumn Sun {Redoute's Choice {Aus} and Zousain (Zoustar {Aus}) had their colours lowered at Rosehill but Waller was far from worried about their spring prospects on a track which ended up rated a Heavy 8.

"I wouldn’t be too disappointed with any of the horses beaten today, you can see some horses handle it, some don’t.” he said.

“Don’t lose faith in the beaten brigade, we certainly won’t be and I’d say in two weeks' time it will be one hell of a race in the Golden Rose." Chris Waller.

“Don’t lose faith in the beaten brigade, we certainly won’t be and I’d say in two weeks' time it will be one hell of a race in the Golden Rose.”

“It’s such a big race [Golden Rose] these days, it’s what we all aim for, it’s what makes the sport of racing so good, all these horses coming together. We’re not really one to back out, that’s why we do have multiple runners in races.”

A Rose for Lean Mean Machine

Waller could afford to see the brightside after Lean Mean Machine upset the market expectations and overcame trouble, storming home on claim a memorable win in the G2 Run To The Rose.

“He’s obviously a very good horse and as we saw with his dad Zoustar, he came back as a three-year-old and went to a whole new level and it looks like this boy has done the same,” he said.

"He's a pretty sexy looking horse. He's a well-named horse. Tye [Angland] has been in love with him since he’s been involved with him, he rode him in a trial here one day and said he didn’t want to get on any other horse in the Spring and he was right."

"He's a pretty sexy looking horse. He's a well-named horse." - Chris Waller on Lean Mean Machine

Lean mean Machine pictured as a yearling

But even Angland was surprised by how Lean Mean Machine was able to overcome a severe check at the 300m mark and pick up the highly rated Graff (Star Witness {Aus}) over the final stages.

“I didn’t expect him to pick up that many lengths the way he did under just hands and heels. His trial the other day showed me he was definitely up to all these horses, he’s a serious race horse,” Angland said.

“Chris and the team were a probably a little bit worried they may be a bit sharp for him, but he’s performed on sticky tracks up at Doomben throughout the winter and there was no problem today. He’s all muscle, great attitude, awesome racehorse.”

J-Mac: Zousain to fight another day

Zousain finished fourth, over three lengths from the winner with jockey James McDonald suggesting afterwards that the colt had performed well given he was unsuited to the ground.

"I was really pleased with him," McDonald said of Zousain, "He was just hopeless in that shifty ground. I pulled him out to the middle which is not the place to be today, it's all been up the fence, so get him on a fair track and firm ground he'll turn the tables."

The Autumn Sun was held up for third behind Tarka

Sun sets on unbeaten run

The Stan Fox was a tough watch for Waller, with The Autumn Sun held up behind eventual winner Tarka (All Too Hard {Aus}) before charging home for third. Stablemate Dealmaker (Dundeel {NZ}) also rattled home and was beaten in a photo.

Waller intends to progress to the Golden Rose with The Autumn Sun, who suffered the first defeat of his four-start career.

“He [The Autumn Sun] was a bit stiff, I think it was a run of a winner so we won’t be changing track there, I think we have a number of nice horses going forward which is great,” Waller said.