Waller Army targets G1 success in Epsom and Metropolitan

5 min read

Saturday's Epsom Hcp raceday at Randwick looms a highlight on a bumper weekend of Group 1 racing, with eight black-type races, including three at the top level.

The G1 TAB Epsom Hcp has long been regarded as one of the best 1600m races in Australia and Saturday's edition looms as an intriguing handicap with just one horse carrying more than 54kg, Hartnell (Authorized {Ire}).

The 8-year-old lumps 57kg but has looked a little short of his best in his two runs this campaign, the latest when fourth in the G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam S. at Moonee Valley.

D'Argento (So You Think {NZ}), a winner of the G1 Rosehill Guineas in the autumn, looks well placed with just 53.5kg. The powerful grey gets to this race third-up off strong placed runs in the G1 Winx S. and the G2 Theo Marks S. and would add further to his value as a stallion should be become the first progeny of his sire to win two Group 1s.

He is one of eight for Chris Waller in the race, with G1 ATC Oaks hero Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock), a spectacular winner of the G2 Chelmsford S. at her most recent start, considered the other top contender.

Four weeks between runs is somewhat of a query, but she certainly has the class and the turn of foot to be an Epsom winner with just 52.5kg on her back.

Siege of Quebec (Fastnet Rock) and Pierata (Pierro) are considered the greatest chance of foiling the Waller Army having finished 1-2 in the G3 Bill Ritchie H. at their last start. Siege of Quebec is weighted on the minimum and looks a huge chance, while Pierata has run top 2 in his past eight races.

Fabulass Flight

Miss Fabulass (Frankel {GB}) is looking to emulate her famous mum Samantha Miss and win the G1 Darley Flight S. and there is little to suggest why she won’t do it again on how she finished off in the G2 Darley Tea Rose S.

She meets nine of those fillies here again and it’s hard to see how they are going to turn the tables. Fiesta (I Am Invincible) is the best chance having won the G2 Silver Shadow S. and having placed second in two other legs of the Darley Princess Series. Pretty in Pink (Sebring) has been third in the past two of those races and also looks a top-class filly.

Of those coming from other formlimes, the Brisbane filly Baccarat Baby (Casino Prince) has an impressive record of five wins from six starts, but leaps volumes in class, while Nakeeta Jane (So You Think {NZ}) takes this on at just her third start but does look promising,

Eight for Waller in Metrop

The Heineken 3 The Metropolitan has a similar weight spread to the Epsom, with 10 of the 18 on the minimum weight of 50kg and eight Waller runners.

Brimham Rocks (GB) (Fastnet Rock) hasn’t won in five starts since arriving in Australia, but has not missed a place either, including a second to the flying Avilius (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) last time in the G3 Kingston Town S.

The last six winners of this race have been bred overseas and Waller also has the former British jumper High Bridge (GB) (Monsun {Ger}), who is unbeaten in two starts since arriving in Australia.

There are three Australian-bred stayers in the race, with Miss Admiration (Sebring) given the best chance having won the G3 JRA Trophy with some authority last week.

Six Everest starters in Premiere

The G2 Santos Coffee Premiere S. is a preview for The TAB Everest with six runners already guaranteed a slot engaged over the same track and distance as the $13 million race will be run in two weeks' time.

Last year's Premiere winner Redzel (Snitzel) missed a run in The G2 Shorts but from all reports has progressed well and from an inside barrier should either set the pace or track the flying Invincible Star (I Am Invincible) as he did when winning the G3 Concorde four weeks' ago.

Trapeze Artist (Snitzel), who proved himself the superior sprinter of the autumn, was beaten first up in the G2 Theo Marks S. but back to the 1200m at Randwick, he should be ready to unleash his customary strong late sprint.

Santa Ana Lane (Lope de Vega {Ire}) and Shoals (Fastnet Rock) have both had one run back and are expected to benefit from the run here on their way to The Everest, while In Her Time (Time Thief) resumes and will also be a big watch.

Super strong support

The G2 Yulong Australia Hill S. is expected to be a battle between Waller's Egg Tart (Sebring) who looks back to her best after two strong runs this campaign and last year's Victoria Derby winner Ace High (High Chaparral {Ire}), who has also looked good at his past two starts.

The G3 Keenland Gimcrack S. and the G3 Arrowfield Breeders' Plate feature the first 2-year-olds of the season.

Peter and Paul Snowden hold a strong hand in the fillies' race with Catch Me (I Am Invincible) and Mayaaseh (Exceed and Excel), while Exceed the Stars (Star Witness) is highly-fancied in the Breeders' Plate off his two strong trial wins.

There is also the Listed London Australia Underwriting Dulcify Quality, with Gem Song (Your Song) looking to continue Kris Lees' run of success with his 3-year-olds.

Victoria's Group racing is staged on Friday and Sunday this week, split by the AFL Grand Final, but the Listed RM Ansett Classic will be staged at Mornington, featuring a few Cups aspirants including Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott's Hush Writer (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}).