Brenton Avdulla labelled imported grey Silverball as potentially Chris Waller’s next weight-for-age star after the Hong Kong cast-off trounced his Lord Mayors Cup rivals for a first stakes victory in Australia.
And Silverball’s emergence could not come at a better time for Sydney’s leading trainer following the death of Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man earlier this year.
“He could be a real serious horse,” said Avdulla, who was fined $200 by stewards for pumping his fist in celebration as he eased down Silverball over the final stages.
“He’s still going to improve after this prep. You know [if] these Chris Waller imported horses after three preps are group 1 horses … there’s no reason why he can’t be.”
The win could also not have been more timely for Avdulla as he seeks a stranglehold on the Sydney riding market while the big four head north for the winter carnival riches.
Silverball’s win helped Avdulla sneak past Tye Angland into the top five in the premiership – albeit with no hope of making an impression on the top four over the final months of the season – and was only his second for Waller this season.
“A few weeks ago I targetted these meetings because I didn’t have any carnival horses so I had to start to get the ball rolling,” Avdulla said. “I’ve been lucky enough that Chris has thrown me an opportunity.”
And he might get a few more given his guile on Silverball, which was faced with the difficult task of launching from barrier 15 in the field of 16.
But once Avdulla parked him midfield one off the fence it was only a matter of time and margin as Silverball cruised to a 2 1/4-length win from Joe Pride’s Sense Of Occasion. Sense Of Occasion’s stablemate Destiny’s Kiss was a half-neck back in third.
The least surprised were Waller’s loyal stable soldiers, headed by foreman Peter Muscutt at Rosehill, who had the pleasure of welcoming back three winners in the space of four races.
“His work is top class,” Muscutt said. “There’s probably not a horse in the yard that shows anything on the track that he does. He’s going as well [as He’s Your Man was], probably better.
“Whether he’s going to be effective on the soft tracks [I don’t know]. They’ll sit down and assess [his next start].”
If they ask Avdulla, there is much better races in store than a listed event approaching winter.
“I wouldn’t say he’s going to get much further, but a strong run 2000 [metres] probably suits him,” Avdulla said. “He’s got a turn of foot that suits good racing and as you can see it was pretty arrogant in the end.
“I’m not one to lair up at the winning post, but he gave me a great feel. He’s right up there as one of the best horses I’ve ridden this season.”