Stradbroke Handicap bids on line for Waller duo

Chris Waller concedes there is no room for error if well-fancied Rosehill runners Sir Bacchus and Start Wondering are going to figure in his Stradbroke Handicap plans.

Both rated up-and-coming horses in Waller’s stable of stars, Sir Bacchus and Star Wondering are among 10 Stradbroke Handicap entries for Australia’s leading Group One trainer.

But their presence in the $1.5 million race at Eagle Farm next month will depend on both horses continuing winning streaks on Saturday.

The trainer has high hopes for Start Wondering, the former New Zealander who has won three of his four starts since arriving in Sydney 12 months ago.

Start Wondering resumes for a campaign targeted at the Brisbane winter carnival when he lines up as the favourite to win the Schweppes Handicap.

“As it stands now he would struggle to get a run in the Stradbroke but I wouldn’t rule him out of running in one of the lead-ups and being very competitive,” Waller said.

“We’ve held him back with Queensland in mind. He was just going to be up too early to go to the Doncaster Mile.”

Start Wondering hasn’t been seen since beating stablemate Marenostro on a heavy track at Rosehill in January and was midfield in a recent Randwick barrier trial after missing the start under race jockey Rory Hutchings.

Sir Bacchus is favourite in the McGrath Estate Agents Handicap after impressing in a winning return at Rosehill.

The sparingly raced three-year-old was last into the straight but had the race won at the 200m, confirming Waller’s suspicions Sir Bacchus can win better races.

“He seems to have a bit of quality about him, but it’s always good to seem them come back and do it as an older horse or in his case another preparation on,” Waller said.

If Sir Bacchus lives up to market expectations, Waller is almost certain to use the Fred Best Classic at Doomben as a way to secure a Stradbroke start.

“He’d have to win every race between now and then,” Waller said.

“If he won on Saturday and then he won the Fred Best Classic in two weeks’ time he gets an automatic entry into the Stradbroke.”

Waller runners hold a call on early favouritism in five races at Rosehill, including Lady Le Fay in the Lord Mayors Cup with leading country jockey Greg Ryan likely to have the ride.


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