Championships Day One - Chris Waller's Doncaster Six
Published: 08 Apr 2014
Chris Waller has an amazing six entrants for Australia's biggest handicap mile, which is now even bigger following the injection of prize-money as a Championships race. While the Hawkes team have the favourite in Messene, who is well weighted after some impressive recent form, Waller has a group of horses that boast a resume of Group 1 wins and are each contenders in their own right.
A profile of the six horses is shown below, along with a quick tip from The Race Guide analyst team.
Number One - BOBAN
"The beautiful gelding with a devastating final surge"
Jockey: Glyn Schofield Handicap: 58 kg Barrier: 19
His run wasn't as bad as it looked last start. The winners in that race all had charmed inside runs, while Boban was out on his own in the middle of the track. The big field and good tempo will hopefully ensure he settles this time, giving him the energy to show off one of the most powerful finishing surges in Australian racing.
Analyst Verdict - The pick of the Waller team if the track isn't too wet.
Number Two - MY KINGDOM OF FIFE
"The classy veteran on the comeback trail"
Jockey: Craig Newitt Weight: 57 kg Barrier: 7
A gentlemanly act from Craig Newitt has seen him take the reigns on this veteran outsider, passing on the position on Weary to Tommy Berry. To be fair on this 9 year old, he hasn't looked like an embattled veteran in the yard recently, with improving fitness and a nice shine to the coat. After another run to get him ready last start, he just could surprise a few here.
Analyst Verdict - Maybe not today, but improvement is not far away
Number Four - SACRED FALLS
"Sleek, efficient and loves a wet track"
Jockey: Zac Purton Handicap: 56.5 kg Barrier: 14
The winner of last year's Doncaster, where he conquered Pierro, Sacred Falls is a known wet tracker that may get conditions to suit. He isn't the biggest and most robust gelding in the yard though and he did get a dream trail up behind the Gai Waterhouse champion last year. The bigger weight to carry and likelihood of a tougher run this year make it a big ask.
Analyst Verdict - The conditions in the George Ryder were tailor made, as they were in last year's race, happy to risk.
Number Five - HAWKSPUR
"The flashy gelding with supreme stamina"
Jockey: Jim Cassidy Handicap: 56 kg Barrier: 8
His first up run didn't really go to plan, but since then the runs in Sydney have been more than adequate. Last start he ran on well and did as much as he probably could of, after only being asked for the supreme effort very late. Well handicapped given his record and good enough to win here.
Analyst Verdict - Not far behind Boban, and becomes top pick if the track is wet.
Number Nine - ROYAL DESCENT
"The elegant mare with a rapid sprint finish"
Jockey: Nash Rawiller Weight: 54 kg Barrier: 20
Perhaps the horse with the most scope out of Waller's runners, Royal Descent won her Oaks by an amazing 10 lengths after bursting away from the pack on the turn. She has more than enough talent to win this, along with the added bonus of probably the best acceleration of Waller's contenders. The main risk is the size of the field given she consistently found trouble in the big Melbourne handicaps in the spring.
Analyst Verdict - Needs luck from the barrier, so maybe no bet, but definitely good enough.
Number Nineteen - WEARY
"The tough athletic grey making a big jump in class"
Jockey: Tommy Berry Weight: 51.5 kg Barrier: 13
The first two runs for Waller this preparation were both very solid and were duly followed with an impressive win last week, beating the in-form Hawkes horse Leebaz. The big margin to the third horse in that race indicates the form is good, and his handicap of 51.5kg must put him right in the race. At just his fourth run for the stable however, this would be the mightiest of training efforts from the talented kiwi.
Analyst Verdict - Must be a chance on form, just such a step up though.
The Race Guide for The Doncaster will be on-line this Thursday