Waller can end on a high

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Racing -

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).

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