By Ray Hickson
Chris Waller finally unveils one of his two Japanese imports at Royal Randwick on Saturday when Satono Rasen debuts for the stable in the Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m).
Waller’s early impression of the horse was as a second-tier performer who’d lost his way in the last 12 months so kicking him off at the back end of the carnival and looking to Brisbane is in keeping with those thoughts.
Satono Rasen, a six-year-old, arrived in Sydney in early March with lightly raced four-year-old Admire Winner, and is one third of Waller’s representation in the All Aged alongside Tom Melbourne and Endless Drama.
Waller said in his weekly stable update that he was satisfied with Satono Rasen’s barrier trial at Rosehill on April 6 and the horse is ready to race but he’s keeping his expectations in check.
“Hughie (Bowman) rode him the other morning and said he just lacks a turn of foot so that might be against him on Saturday,’’ Waller said.
“It’s a good starting point and we’ll see how we go.’’
— The Championships (@ChampionshipsRR) March 15, 2018
The entire hasn’t won below 2000m and is yet to win in 10 first-up attempts and that’s reflected in his $41 quote with TAB.
Admire Winner didn’t make it to the races after being scratched from the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude and he has since been spelled.
It’s likely Satono Rasen will head to the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) in two weeks on the Gold Coast and that’s also the path for Tom Melbourne ($11).
Waller lamented the awkward barrier for Tom Melbourne in the Doncaster but said he was gallant in running fifth, beaten 2.6 lengths by Happy Clapper.
The cult galloper, still chasing his first win since the 2016 Albury Cup, will get all the favours this time around from barrier four.
“He’s drawn perfectly, I wish he’d drawn this in the Doncaster,’’ Waller said.
“He is coming back in distance but is only third-up. We’ll ride him where he lands, probably sixth or seventh.’’
Punters Intel tells the Doncaster story for Tom Melbourne, he had to work overtime in the early stages before landing outside the leader.
He clocked 10.55 from the 1400m-1200m and then 10.99 from the 1200m-1000m and that took its toll as his last 600m was a battling 35.64.
Endless Drama ($26) also contested the Doncaster and was beaten fourth lengths. Waller said he wasn’t disgraced there but will need a wet track to competitive.
“He needs rain, especially over the shorter trip. His runs this prep have been good and he didn’t get beaten far in the Doncaster,’’ he said.
Waller has won the All Aged Stakes once previously, with stable favourite Danleigh in 2009.