By Ray Hickson
Chris Waller is quietly confident in-form grey My Nordic Hero can turn the tables on Aloisia and claim the stable's fourth win in Wednesday's Group 3 $160,000 Summer Cup (2000m) at Royal Randwick.
The pair, third and second respectively in the Group 2 Villiers over a mile, renew rivalries at a distance that connections of both could argue is right up their alley.
My Nordic Hero's case he’s a two time winner at 2000m and meets Aloisia 1kg better for finishing a length behind her in the Villiers, the race Waller feels will produce the winner of the Boxing Day feature.
"He's come back better than he has before and previously 2000m was his pet distance,'' Waller said.
"He's drawn a bit wide and he's got a big weight, they are the negatives for a smaller horse but I think the Villiers form this year is pretty strong."
Aloisia, a Group 2 winner and Group 1 placed at 2000m, came from last to run Sky Boy to a neck in the Villiers running easily the fastest last 600m of the race in 35.82, 0.38 faster than My Nordic Hero, according to Punters Intelligence data.
The pair were sharing TAB favouritism at $4.60 early on Monday before My Nordic Hero assumed the top at $3.90 with Aloisia out to $5.00.
Waller said the seven-year-old would likely progress to the Gosford Cup (2100m) on January 17 if he continues to race in the same spirit.
"When he came here we didn't know what to expect so everything has been a bonus and we're getting a bit of fun out of him,'' he said.
The Festival Stakes winner is one of six runners from Sydney's leading stable in the Summer Cup and of them Waller warned top weight Life Less Ordinary ($5.50) should not be underestimated.
The gelding has returned from a Melbourne spring campaign where he ran third in the Ballarat Cup (2200m) at his last run a month ago.
“He races well fresh and i think 2000m will suit him better than the Ballarat Cup distance,’’ Waller said.
“He's fresh and had a short, sharp trial over 800m last Monday and finished off well.
“He's a hard horse to place because of his rating. He’s between a Group 2 WFA horse and a Group 1 handicap so it is the right race for him.’’
My Nordic Hero runs third in the Villiers Stakes at Randwick on December 15
Waller has won the Summer Cup in three of the past five years, the latest last year with Montauk, and his back-ups to the fancied pair are last start winner Abdon ($11), Black On Gold ($19), Alward ($16) and import Satono Rasen ($34).
“Abdon gets in very well at the weights and he's not a big horse,’’ Waller said.
“Black On Gold needs a good track, forget his form because on a good track he will improve.
“Satono Rasen we haven't worked out yet and Alward will run well but needs a good track.”
Waller will saddle up the shortest priced favourite of the Boxing Day meeting with unbeaten filly Zalatte ($1.50) out to stretch her record to three wins from three starts in the TAB Handicap (1600m).