By Ray Hickson
How a number of emerging gallopers from the Chris Waller stable perform at Canterbury on Wednesday will provide punters with a clearer picture of their immediate future.
Horses like unraced youngsters Ms Rodarte and Press Box and three-year-olds Twilighter and Campaign could find themselves on the road if they impress.
Waller’s racing manager Charlie Duckworth said the two-year-olds will face a stiff task to win on debut in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1200m) but is far from counting them out.
“Ms Rodarte won her latest trial at Canterbury which is a bit of a plus and she should be able to get the run of the race from a good draw,’’ he said.
“She's a really nice filly but when you're up against horses with experience, and the top weight (Gem Song) being a winner, it's never an easy task.
“We hold a good opinion of her and she should be running really nicely.’’
The I Am Invincible filly is a $10 chance with TAB while the well related Press Box has been kept safe at $6 with just the one public trial in April.
Press Box runs second to Setsuna in a trial at Rosehill on April 6
Press Box is a full sister to former classy colt Press Statement, who won on debut at the corresponding Canterbury meeting in 2015 and was a Group 1 winner two starts later before training on to win the Caulfield Guineas and run third to Winx in a George Ryder at three.
He also debuted on the back of one trial in April and if the filly can make a statement of her own she'll likely be given the chance to match her brother's feat in Brisbane.
“Press Box is in a similar boat to Ms Rodarte, every single gallop she comes on and is improving. She's still working it out,’’ Duckworth said.
“(Owner) Tony Muollo has had a bit of luck in the past and continues to buy and breed good horses. Both horses have got good barriers and senior riders on so they'll get their chance.’’
Waller has four of the 11 runners in the Ranvet Neutrolene Handicap (1550m) though it’s unlikely all will take their place.
Promising three-year-old Seaway ($5.50) is entered for an 1800m event at Rosehill on Saturday and Duckworth said the colt may be looking for more ground after a grinding second on the Kensington track second-up.
He said the outside barrier could see Waller wait with last start winner Enlightened Boy ($10) though that decision is expected on Wednesday morning.
A jockey change and the inside barrier could see a return to the winner’s stall by Cedarwood ($9) who has been beaten a length or less at his last two starts.
Cedarwood was game in defeat at Warwick Farm on April 11 when he was run down by subsequent Group 3 winner Higher Ground.
Punters Intel data shows the gelding worked very hard early running the fastest 200m splits for three of the first four furlongs while his last 600m of 35.51 was almost a second slower than the winner.
“It's good to get a senior rider back on board, while the apprentice did nothing wrong Rory (Hutchings) is a bit under-utilised and is a good strong rider,’’ Duckworth said.
A Queensland trip could be on the cards for Campaign ($26) if he can strike a bit of form following a battling first-up ninth over 1300m two weeks ago.
The gelding won second-up over the Canterbury 1550m back in January.
“We want him to be flashing home and looking like he'll shape up to be a Derby horse,’’ Duckworth said.
“If not we'll he have to stick to the weaker grades and try to collect prizemoney in the winter months in Sydney.’’
A classic mission is also on the cards for grey filly Twilighter who broke through for her first win at Kembla Grange on April 21.
Duckworth said taking on the older horses in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1900m) is a learning curve for her but there’s no better way to find out whether she might be up to an Oaks.
“It would give us a true line whether she can head up to Queensland or whether she's better off staying here,’’ he said.