Champion trainer Chris Waller stepped up his attack on the Golden Slipper Stakes by winning both two-year-old features at Rosehill on Saturday.
Despite success in many of Australia’s greatest races in the past decade, Waller has yet to strike in the Golden Slipper Stakes, the world’s richest two-year-old contest.
His only previous Golden Slipper runner was Jade Marauder in 2012, with the filly finishing 15th of 16 under jockey Glyn Schofield.
Performer, a son of Exceed And Excel, started the $1.70 favourite in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakesover 1100m and, despite looking set for an easy win halfway down the home straight, managed to scramble home and hold off the fighting Stratsophere to gain the verdict by a nose.
Just 35 minutes later, his I Am Invincible filly Fiesta won her first race in three starts by taking out theGroup 3 Widden Stakes over 1100m for a big group of owners involved in through syndication company Star Thoroughbreds.
Both two-year-olds were ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, returning to race riding after an injury enforced rest of six weeks recovering from a broken hand.
Performer has yet to taste defeat in two race starts or three trial appearances and has long been considered a leading Golden Slipper chance.
From the Snippets mare Gavroche, Performer is a half-brother to Group 1 The Galaxy winner Bel Sprinter.
Performer was purchased for $450,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale by Harras Syndicate/Mulcaster Bloodstock.
He had won the Listed Breeders Plate over 1000m at Randwick on September 30 in a strong performance on debut and had to carry a 3kg penalty against his rivals in the Canonbury Stakes for that win.
“We’ve still got a long way to go until where we hope he gets to which is the Golden Slipper,” Waller said
“But he’s an exciting horse to be training ahead of a big autumn carnival and we wouldn’t change him for anything
“I know it was a narrow win but I think he will improve from that and we will continue on to the Todman Stakes for his next run.
“I’m following a path that has been successfully used by others in the past.”
The Group 2 Todman Stakes is run over 1200m at Randwick on March 10.
Performer ran his final 400m in a quick 21.29 seconds in a race that had been in a moderate tempo early, with the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Stratosphere setting the pace.
Stratosphere will likely run in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes over 1100m at Rosehill in three weeks time.
After placing in her first two starts during the spring, Waller’s Fiesta showed courage and determination to win the Widden Stakes and overcome a chequered passage, finishing too well for runner up Adamina.
Fiesta was purchased for $150,000 at the 2017 Inglis Classic Sale from the Fairhill Farm draft and will likely contest the Group 3 Sweet Embrace Stakes in three weeks time. She is a daughter of the Danehill Dancer mare Now Now, the dam of two winners. – Racing.com