By Ray Hickson
Champion trainer Chris Waller has Doncaster aspirations for import Mister Sea Wolf though stopped short of predicting a first-up win at Rosehill on Saturday.
The six-year-old, a winner of six from 23 starts, has attracted heavy early support with punters opening at $11 with TAB and firming to $6 within hours.
Waller said his immediate goal with Mister Sea Wolf is the Group 2 Villiers Stakes, run in two weeks, which carries a Doncaster exemption.
“His form will stand up but it's a matter of when,’’ Waller said.
“Normally they take a run or two, often into a second preparation. But he has trialled well and settled in well, I'd like to get him through to a Villiers second-up and I'd be a little more confident going into that than I am about Saturday.’’
Waller has won six Doncasters with Winx (2016), Kermadec (2015), Sacred Falls (2013-14), Rangirangdoo (2010) and Triple Honour (2008).
Mister Sea Wolf, and stablemate Good Project, trials at Rosehill – November 24
Mister Sea Wolf tackles the Group 3 $150,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) with Tim Clark in the saddle on the back of one public trial – Waller said he’s had no jump outs – for a pleasing third at Rosehill last Friday.
He was a winner over a mile at the Curragh in May and Listed placed over the same course on July 1.
“He's a nice middle distance horse that has pretty good form around the mile,’’ Waller said.
“I respect that form in England and Ireland as much as I do with staying races.
“It's good to give them a couple of starts before you get them ready for the late autumn/winter.
“I see him as that Ajax/Doncaster Prelude type of horse to get the confidence to get him to the Doncaster or a Doomben Cup.’’
Mister Sea Wolf is one of three runners for Waller in the Festival Stakes and it’s fair to say the other pair, Group 1 winners Japonsime and Good Project are battling to find their best form.
Japonsime won a 1200m trial at Warwick Farm on November 24 but hasn’t run a place in 10 starts since his third in Rebel Dane’s Manikato Stakes in 2016. His latest attempt was a midfield finish in the Hawkesbury Ladies Day Cup (1400m).
Good Project beat one home in a 1400m Listed race at Flemington on October 7, and has since run second in Mister Sea Wolf’s trial, but his only placing in the last 18 months was his Group 1 second behind Scales Of Justice in last year’s Railway Stakes.
“We haven't given up trying with either of them,’’ Waller said.
“Japonisme trialled well and we’ve changed the gear on him which might help.
“Good Project is a hard horse to get fit, he's an entire and he didn't like the firm tracks in Melbourne. He's a Group 1 winner but he's not racing to that handicap.’’