A chance to sample the course proper at Caulfield on Tuesday was irresistible for leading trainer Chris Waller, who unleashed his big guns – including Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas favourite and possibly racing’s new star-in-waiting, The Autumn Sun.
Waller did not hold back when asked how good he thought The Autumn Sun could be.
“He’s very good and how far we go, I don’t know in terms of his rating, but he’s right up there with the best horses I’ve had,” Waller said on Tuesday morning.
“At this early stage, at what I would call an immature three-year-old, I think he’s still got a lot more to offer. It’s very exciting.”
Waller was able to talk confidently about the son of Redoute’s Choice after the colt adapted quickly to Caulfield’s unique turns when he took to the course proper.
His rider James McDonald only had positives to report after the work.
“He was very balanced around the bend, which is pretty important,” McDonald said.
“I know galloping trackwork is different to race pressure but I was pretty happy with the way he got around the bend. His leads were really good and he finished off his work really nice. I couldn’t be more pleased really.
“He’s got the form on the board. He’s beaten the best in Sydney. He was there to be beaten too. He overcame obstacles.
“He won really well that day when he came from an impossible position and still rallied.
“I thought Zousain was home that day and I couldn’t believe he still picked him up. He’s definitely got a lot of class.”
Waller said he did not have too many concerns coming into the crucial gallop.
“The Caulfield Guineas hasn’t just been a thought in the last two weeks – it has been well thought of over the last six to eight weeks so he’s done plenty of work back in Sydney left-handed and so for that reason, he knew what to do,” Waller said.
“I guess bringing him here this morning gets him familiar with Caulfield. He’s been in the parade ring, on the track, up the straight, you name it. We’ve ticked every box.
“He’s a very professional horse – I think that’s one of his biggest attributes. He’s such a relaxed (horse) and professional. He doesn’t have any distractions and for that reason, he’s a pretty straightforward sort of horse.”
Rosehill Guineas winner D’Argento also took to Caulfield for the first time and Waller said his work suggested the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Stakes was within his reach this Saturday.
“He’s come through it very well,” Waller said of D’Argento’s narrow last-start defeat in the Epsom Handicap.
“I think 2000 metres will suit. He also handled the track well this morning and he’s a good horse in his own right.
“It’s the right stage of his preparation to be getting him out to 2000 and he looks well placed.”
D’Argento will face plenty of competition in the race and none tougher than his stablemate Unforgotten, who sparkled in her trackwork alongside Thousand Guineas hopeful Fiesta on Tuesday.
“Unforgotten was very professional and coped with it extremely well,” Waller said.
“Obviously, one’s a four-year-old and one’s a three-year-old. Fiesta’s got great form coming from Sydney and it’s good to see her come back so well as a three-year-old and I think a Group 1 is not far away from her.
“The work we did with them this morning was never going to see any disappointments but they were travelling well within themselves and enjoying their work.
“Fiesta, Michael (Walker) said she was a little bit lost just at a couple of stages through the work – not particularly the bend – but just different stages. Having a look around.”
Waller will run two horses in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap and has a leaning to Noire.
“Noire won the Shannon (Stakes) last start and before that was narrowly beaten by Invincibella and that form has been franked on Saturday,” he said.
“She’s a late bloomer and starting to make a name for herself and looks well suited to the handicap conditions of the Toorak.” – Racing.com