By Ray Hickson
There’ll be little doubt in co-trainer Adrian Bott’s mind unbeaten three-year-old Rule The World will deserve a shot at an autumn Group 1 if he can make it four from four at Newastle on Saturday.
Rule The World has been quietly climbing the ladder away from the established Group performers of his age and that’s been deliberate.
But a win in the Group 3 $160,000 NZB Spring Stakes (1600m) will be enough for Bott, and co-trainer Gai Waterhouse, to focus in on the autumn three-year-old classics or even snare a spot in the Doncaster Mile.
“We're raising the bar again, off what we've seen so far it's the natural and logical progression for him,’’ Bott said.
“He's still a horse that has a lot of upside and improvement to come and we're going to see a more furnished horse in the autumn.
“I think he will excel in that mile to 2000m range, it's yet to be proven but he gives the indication that's the case.
“He could be a horse you can take on the older horses with in a handicap or he can we stick to his own age group.’’
Rule The World profiles similarly to the last Spring Stakes winner from the Waterhouse stable, Proisir who went into the race in 2012 unbeaten and quickly graduated to Group 1 company.
Bott said races like the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) are natural targets for a horse like Rule The World.
The ‘workmanlike’ gelding is a warm favourite with TAB at $2.10 to keep his unbeaten record intact and Tim Clark, who was on board in his first two wins, is back in the saddle.
“He just goes about his business in a no fuss matter and we've seen that in all his starts,’’ Bott said.
“On each occasion he's gone out and got the job done.
“I think he will put himself there on pace, Robbie (Dolan) rode a very smart race last time and he's very tractable like that.’’
Bott said stablemate Rock Amore ($18) is capable of improvement on his fading effort in the Carbine Club in Melbourne which followed a fourth in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes.
“We took the blinkers off, we thought he might have raced a bit strong within himself down in Melbourne,’’ he said.
“He looks well and has freshened up nicely. While he may not necessarily have the runs on the board I thought there's been merit to all his races.’’
It’s rare a Waterhouse/Bott two-year-old is ignored by the market but that’s the case with Dominant Lady who is a $16 chance on debut in the Sage Printing Max Lees Classic (900m).
The I Am Invincible filly has only the one trial behind her, a close second at Wyong on October 23, and Bott concedes a 900m scamper won’t be her preferred style of race but is adamant she has something.
Rule The World wins at Rosehill on November 2
“The 900m races can be a bit tricky up there, I'm keen to test her and give her chance,’’ he said.
“There's no doubt there's a lot of improvement to come and she will be better suited getting over further. She's not an out and out speed filly, but she is a nice style of filly.’’
The Waterhouse/Bott stablemates Rapido Chaparro and Falcon Island are vying for favouritism in the Australian Bloodstock Handicap (1850m) to open the Hunter meeting.
Bott said Falcon Island is in top form after a close second at Rosehill last week while Rapido Chaparro will appreciate coming back in class from the City Tatt’s Cup.
“I thought Falcon Island was an excellent run there last week and the quick back up should suit, he's rock hard fit and racing well,’’ he said.
“Rapido has been consistent throughout the campaign, last start he was disappointing but he probably didn't quite see out the (2400m) trip in that grade.’’