Chris Waller produced another training masterstroke to coax Sir Bacchus back to winning form at Warwick Farm.
Sir Bacchus, the grey gelding with an ownership base that seemed to make up half the racetrack attendance, held off Spectroscope to win the December Handicap (1400m).
Waller, Sydney’s reigning premier trainer and a member of racing’s elite Hall of Fame, revealed he switched training bases with Sir Bacchus after the gelding’s poor last start effort hoping a change of environment would help the talented, enigmatic sprinter.
“Sir Bacchus has ability but he has been a frustrating horse at times,’’ Waller said.
“His first-up run was very good but he was not quite the same second-up, he raced a little flat.
“So, I decided to send him over to our Warwick Farm stables for a change of scenery. It seems a little bit more relaxed here and that works for some horses.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to work with Sir Bacchus until raceday but it obviously has done the trick.’’
Sir Bacchus was backed from $8.50 into $6.50 before his long neck win over Spectroscope ($5.50) with Conarchie ($7) a neck away third.
Waller prepared a winning double with Sir Bacchus complementing the earlier success of stablemate Naval Warfare.
Sir Bacchus, who scored his eighth career win from 30 starts and took his career earnings to a very healthy figure of nearly $550,000, also gave star jockey Tommy Berry a winning double after his previous success on Heart Conquered.
“There was a big bunch of owners in this horse and it was nice to win for them,’’ Berry said.
“It’s also good for older horses like him to get one on the board as Chris (Waller) got him here in such good shape.
“He usually misses the kick but today he jumped well and put himself into the race more than he has in the past. I felt very confident a long way out.’’
Berry is also an advocate for more Saturday racing at Warwick Farm, a racetrack that is primarily used as a midweek venue.
“Personally, it is always nice to ride winners on my home track — I love this place so let’s keep coming back.’’
James Cummings, trainer of runner-up Spectroscope, was offering no excuses for his galloper’s defeat.
“He is going well this preparation but it is a struggle for us to get him winning again because he is carrying big weights in competitive races,’’ Cummings said.
“I will probably run him here again in a fortnight in a mile handicap.’’
Cummings revealed Spectroscope will be offered for sale at the Magic Millions Summer Racehorse Sale on January 15. – Herald Sun