By Ray Hickson
Champion trainer Chris Waller is confident the horse we’ll all be talking about after Saturday’s Rosehill meeting is his exciting colt Performer.
While some gloss came off the youngster in the autumn after he threw Hugh Bowman in the Todman Stakes and beat two home in the Golden Slipper, Waller said Performer has done nothing but please him ahead of the Group 3 $150,000 Singapore Airlines San Domenico Stakes (1100m).
Performer was the $3.70 favourite with TAB on Thursday and Waller just has a small question mark floating over the horse for his return.
“I guess you could say the draw (nine) is a bit of a negative and is he an 1100m horse?’’ Waller said on his stable update video.
“Yes, he did win the Breeders’ (Plate) over 1000m but he simply won that on class.
“I think, give him a chance to switch off and settle and he will finish off well. If he doesn’t win he’ll be the one to follow out of the race for next start.’’
Performer downs Fiesta in a trial at Rosehill on August 7
Waller has a strong group of three-year-olds heading towards the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) on September 22 and Performer is equal second favourite ($11) with TAB behind the unbeaten The Autumn Sun ($6), who racegoers will see trial at Rosehill on Saturday.
Performer didn’t wear his blinkers when he won a 900m trial on his home track on August 7 but he accounted for subsequent Silver Shadow Stakes winner Fiesta in that gallop.
“He’s come back really well, he’s a good horse as we all know,’’ Waller said.
“The hype has gone off him because he lost the rider one day and was down the track in the Golden Slipper when he drew the outside barrier.
“I love this horse’s attitude. He’s such a laid-back horse and I think that fools a few people thinking he should be charging into the bridle how we like our horses trialling.’’
Group 1 ambitions also go on the line for the in-form Paret when he joins three stablemates in the Pacific Boating Handicap (1500m).
Since he’s been gelded Paret has begun to deliver on the early promise he showed and is the $2.70 favourite to complete a hat-trick and really enter Epsom Handicap calculations where he’s a $15 chance.
“He’s been dead set flying, his last two wins couldn’t have been any more impressive,’’ Waller said.
“I think if he can win Saturday he is a genuine Epsom chance.’’
Punters Intel showed Paret ran the fastest last 600m of 34.01 when he scored over 1350m at Rosehill two weeks ago and he put the race away by running 10.96 between the 400m and 200m.
The outside barrier isn’t worrying Waller and, simply, if he is to be an Epsom hope he needs to overcome that hurdle on Saturday.
“He just needs cover, they went slow in his last start and he picked them up in two strides,’’ he said.
Waller’s comments on his three other runners in the final event:
High Mist ($17): “He only needs the rain to come and he’s right in this. He’s going a lot better than his form suggests, he’s a noted wet tracker. The more rain that falls the better his chance.’’
Eagle Bay ($7): “He ran a cracker first-up. He’s probably looking for a mile but we are taking him quietly and just slowly getting him up in the distance range. I still think he is a winning chance.’’
Opposition ($26): “Don’t expect him to be at his best but I like him. The 1500m is going to be too short but just watch for the grey flashing home late and he’s one to follow deep into the spring carnival.’’