Waller can end on a high
RAY THOMAS SYDNEY’S premier trainer, Chris Waller, is poised to cap a memorable Melbourne spring carnival by claiming another major with star mare Shillelagh in the Group 1 $2 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington today.
Waller has prepared four Group 1 winners already in Melbourne this spring, with champion mare Winx’s Turnbull Stakes and Cox Plate triumphs, The Autumn Sun’s Caulfield Guineas and Shillelagh’s win in the Empire Rose Stakes.
The Waller stable has also enjoyed a successful Cup week at Flemington with winners on each of the three days so far — Shillelagh on Derby day, a stable double from Kaonic and Shraaoh on Cup day, then Savacool’s win at the Oaks meeting on Thursday.
Shillelagh leads the stable charge today as she bids to become the first mare to win the Mackinnon Stakes since La Bella Dama in 2001.
Waller said Shillelagh “did a great job” to scorn a barnstorming win in the Empire Rose Stakes last Saturday.
“She had a pretty soft run but won like a good horse,’’ Waller said.
“Although it was against the ‘girls’ it was weight-for-age last Saturday so I think she will be fine (today).
“Now is the time to try her over 2000m. She is bred to get the trip being by Savabeel and her dam’s side has thrown some stayers, too.
“It has only been her speed that has stopped us from extending her out over further before.’’
Waller doesn’t have a runner in the other Group 1 race, the VRC Sprint Classic, but he has stayers Libran and Casterton entered in the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2500m).