Weight relief has eased the burden for durable stayer Vassal, who also showed the benefits of a Queensland campaign before winning the Listed Christmas Cup at Randwick.
In the aftermath of the six-year-old gelding’s victory, Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller pinpointed two contributing factors to Vassal’s turnaround from a struggle over the same 2400m trip a fortnight ago.
“He was probably right last time too, I think we underestimate the big weights horses have to carry,” Waller said.
“I realise you’ve got to have big fields and a spread of weights but that stopped him last start.”
Prince Cheri ($7.50) was a long head back in third.
“He dropped to the limit weight and tracked into the race beautifully on the back of Prince Cheri,” Waller said.
A four-race schedule based out of Waller’s Gold Coast stable during September and October was also pivotal.
“He didn’t win a race up there but he found form with a string of placings. It was definitely the key to getting his confidence back,” Waller said.
The Queensland climate made the Gold Coast a perfect place to base horses, although the heat could be detrimental over summer.
“We take photos of the horses every Monday, the strappers have been in shorts for months and the horses coats are gleaming,” Waller said.
“I’m not sure how it’s going to be when it’s too hot but nine months of the year it’s a pretty good environment for a horse.” – AAP Racing