Chris Waller believes Group I Toorak Handicap contender Shillelagh is the “forgotten horse” out of the Epsom Handicap and says her run was as good as any in the race.
And the master trainer believes that puts the seven-year-old mare in good stead to add another Victorian Group I to her resume.
Shillelagh has not won since claiming the Group I Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last spring but has generally competed in elite grade, running second in the Stradbroke Handicap and fourth in the Epsom Handicap.
Waller loved what he saw when Shillelagh charged from amongst those at the rear in the Epsom to only be beaten just over a length by Hartnell.
Shillelagh’s stablemates D’argento and Unforgotten ran second and third respectively in the Epsom but Waller believes Shillelagh was just as good.
Shillelagh is the equal $6.50 favourite for the Toorak Handicap (1600m) and will carry 53.5kg with Michael Walker to ride.
“Everybody has spoken highly about the first three home but Shillelagh has been the forgotten horse, she came from 15th at the 400m and was beaten only a length, so in my opinion she is a very worthy chance of putting another Victorian Group I win next to her name,” Waller said.
“She gets in pretty well at the weights considering her high rating, her two runs back from her spell have been very good and her run in the Epsom was as good as any in the race.
“We sent her down there (to Melbourne) due to the wet weather in Sydney and I was expecting to run her over 2000m but I feel the mile on a better track is certainly going to give her a better chance to perform and she has raced at Caulfield before.”
Waller also has Noire in the Toorak Handicap with the five-year-old mare coming off a win in the Group II Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill last month.
Noire is rated an $11 chance. She will be ridden by Michael Dee, the former Kiwi jockey who enjoyed a Group I triumph when winning the Cantala Stakes on Shillelagh last spring.
“Noire has done nothing wrong in her two runs back from her spell, with a good win on a good track last start,” Waller said.
“She has drawn to get a nice run and Michael Dee rides and with the 52kg weight she is a genuine light weight chance.
“She went to Caulfield on Tuesday morning and got around the track very well.” – Racenet.com.au