A win by Steel Diamond at Royal Randwick would be a real gem for trainer Chris Waller
Trainer Chris Waller concedes few wins would give him as much satisfaction as a first-up success by Steel Diamond in the 50 Years and Life Members Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Waller, who is on 299 wins on all tracks this season, has runners at five meetings including major chances in Group 1 races at Eagle Farm but Steel Diamond has a powerful emotion riding with her on Saturday – sentiment.
Steel Diamond was previously trained by the late Rick Worthington, the widely respected Warwick Farm-based horseman who died last September after a long battle with cancer.
Steel Diamond’s former trainer, the late Rick Worthington.Source:News Corp Australia
Waller has taken over as trainer of Steel Diamond who hasn’t been to the races since Worthington passed away.
“We would get a big kick if Steel Diamond won,” Waller said.
“Rick was a great man; he was very good to me and my stable. Rick was a fantastic horseman and always had a talented horse around him.
“Steel Diamond had a big boom on her early, she is a decent mare and has come back well. Her trials have been really good.”
In latest TAB Fixed Odds betting, Steel Diamond is at generous odds of $11 given the mare usually sprints well fresh and is very adept on rain-affected going.
The Waller stable has a powerful entry at Randwick including favourites Zing ($3.40) in the Drinkwise Mile (1600m) and Blondeau ($3) for the Precise Air Handicap (1400m).
At Eagle Farm, Waller is trying to improve on his tally of 15 Group 1 wins this season with Ranch Hand, Giannis and Cape Breton contesting the $1 million J.J. Atkins Stakes (1600m), and Imaging and Subpoenaed for the 1.5 million TAB Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Handy mare Zing looks a good chance for the Chris Waller Stable at Randwick on Saturday. Photo: AAP ImageSource:AAP
Waller, chasing his fourth win in the J.J. Atkins after previous success with The Autumn Sun (2018), Press Statement (2015) and Pressday (2010), said he was finding it hard to split his stable trio.
“Ranch Hand is a very nice colt but has probably lost his way slightly,” the Hall of Fame trainer said.
“We haven’t made any sudden changes but we are making sure he is peaking for the race.
“Giannis does a few little things wrong but his run in the Sires’ was good and he will appreciate the mile
“Cape Breton is following a similar path to The Autumn Sun and Press Statement who both won the J.J. Atkins.
“We had Zoustar and Brazen Beau run second in this race off the back of Group wins but The Autumn Sun and Press Statement came off Saturday wins in Sydney just as Cape Breton is doing
“This can be a race for the up and comer and Cape Breton fits that mould.”
Imaging and Subpoenaed have drawn off the track in the Stradbroke as Waller chases his first win in Queensland’s premier sprint.
Cape Breton (left) is following a similar path the J.J Atkins as Chris Waller’s former winners, the Autumn Son and Press Statement. Photo: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I think with Group 1 races you need luck and with bad draws you need a lot of luck,” Waller said.
“It is just a matter of how much extra ground they will have to cover as there is no staggered start in racing and if you are going to be posted deep, it does come at a price.”
Waller also has Reloaded and Toffee Tongue lining up in the Group 2 $1.2 million Q22 (2200m) and Brimham Rocks is in the Group 2 $400,000 Brisbane Cup (3200m).
Reloaded has struck top form with successive stakes wins including the Lord Mayors Cup while Toffee Tongue comes off a last start Group 1 second placing behind Zaaki in the Doomben Cup.
Waller said he can’t fault either Reloaded or Toffee Tongue but is realistic about their chances of causing a boilover against the rampant Zaaki, the $1.50 favourite after his seven lengths Doomben Cup romp.
“We need Zaaki to fail, if he reproduces his Doomben Cup run, we won’t be able to beat him,” Waller said.
‘But both of our horses are well and it is a good race. Well done to Queensland Racing for putting this race on and it has unearthed a star in Zaaki.”
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Originally published asSentiment riding with Steel Diamond
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