As he launches a four-pronged attack on the Queensland Derby, trainer Chris Waller is looking to the horse who gave him his first win in the race to step up at Flemington.
Hawkspur, the 2013 Queensland Derby winner, runs in Saturday’s 2500m-open handicap as he attempts to win his first race since the Group Two Chelmsford Stakes in September 2014.
“His last couple of runs have been good but he is obviously off his best form,” Waller said.
“Horses like him put a lot in and can get despondent so we are trying to get his confidence back.”
Ben Melham will ride Hawkspur who carries top weight of 60kg and is an 11 chance in the race with the Darren Weir-trained Master Of Arts the $3 favourite.
Waller, the country’s leading Group One trainer, and Weir who has the most overall winners this season, go head to head at Eagle Farm.
The Weir-trained Howard Be Thy Name is the $4.20 Derby favourite with Mackintosh the most favoured of the Waller quartet at $5 alongside Eagle Way.
Waller’s other runners are Encosta Line ($10) Rodrico ($26) and Multifacets ($35).
The trainer can make a case for all four.
“Mackintosh is on a mission as soon as he gets in the barrier,” he said. “He never over-races and is genuine.
“Encosta Line missed the Grand Prix Stakes because of an irregular blood picture but he hasn’t missed any work.
“Rodrico is up in grade and he is very fit while Multifacets is the least favoured of the four.
“But if you had asked me earlier in the autumn he would have been my first pick and his form is not as bad as it looks.”
The stable has double-figure chances Sebring Sally and Mount Omei in the Queensland Oaks, the race which started Winx on her path to champion status.
“I’m confident Sebring Sally will get the distance,” Waller said.
“And if Mount Omei can stay the distance who knows?
“But I’m not expecting too much. I don’t think there’s another Winx there.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au