By Ray Hickson
It's safe to say Chris Waller is more hopeful than confident he can snare another Golden Rose quinella on Saturday but he'll head to Rosehill believing he can collect a third win in the three-year-old feature.
Waller is bullish, though, about the progress his colts Yes Yes Yes and Kubrick have made and is adamant they are both good enough to emerge from the race as Group 1 winners.
A year ago, Waller's star colt The Autumn Sun ran down stablemate Zousain to hand the trainer his second Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m), following Zoustar’s outstanding win in 2013.
Yes Yes Yes had his first run since the Golden Slipper when he finished second behind Bivouac in the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) on September 14 while Kubrick, at his first start since a second in the Group 1 JJ Atkins in June, ran a closing fourth.
“We had them as fit as we could first up without hurting them and hoped they would run to the best of their ability and I think they did,’’ Waller said.
“Most importantly they will improve with the run and be properly prepared for a 1400m Group 1 race.
“Their ability is not my major concern, it is all about timing and it looks like it has come together well for both of them.’’
Yes Yes Yes runs second and Kubrick fourth in the Run To The Rose
Waller’s colts are on the third and fourth line of betting with TAB with Yes Yes Yes at $4.80, after the field field was declared on Tuesday, and Kubrick a $9 chance.
The first four home in the Run To The Rose all broke 33 seconds for their last 600m (Punter's Intelligence), with Kubrick clocking 32.79 and Yes Yes Yes 32.84 and with a good track likely their rematch over 1400m will be fascinating.
The premier trainer says with both his colts only having one run under their belts they are open to more improvement than the likes of favoured rivals Bivouac ($3) and Exceedance ($4.20).
James McDonald, who has won the Golden Rose twice on Exosphere (2015) and Astern (2016), will ride Kubrick from the inside alley while Nash Rawiller chases his first Group 1 victory since his return on Yes Yes Yes who jumps alongside his stablemate.
Waller didn’t have to be asked how does he separate his two runners, he posed that question himself, and he says they are young horses of similar ability but was loathe to put one in front of the other.
“It’s pretty hard, they are both good horses. I think they are genuine Group 1 contenders and making a good name for themselves,’’ he said.
“Obviously there’s one box to tick which is the Group 1 and hopefully one of them gets it on Saturday.’’
Beyond the Golden Rose, Waller said it’s likely Yes Yes Yes would come back to 1200m for the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes in Melbourne – unless he’s called up by Coolmore for a spot in the TAB Everest, something that could be more likely if he wins on Saturday.
And Kubrick will probably also head south with the Caulfield Guineas in mind.