Chris Waller will use a proven template to give Counterattack his chance at an end-of-season Group One race.
Waller announced Brisbane plans for Counterattack after the richly bred two-year-old scored a first-up win in the TAB Place Multi Handicap at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
It will put the late bloomer on course to follow in the footsteps of the Waller-trained Pressday, Zoustar and Brazen Beau which all contested Queensland’s major juvenile races.
Pressday was unbeaten in a three-start winter carnival campaign which culminated in a TJ Smith win, while Zoustar and Brazen Beau tasted stakes success in Brisbane before returning to win Group One races the following spring.
“It’s good having that confidence to know that these types of late horses can soon make up for lost time,” Waller said.
Counterattack is a half-brother to Group One winners Red Tracer and Shellscrape who were also prepared by Waller.
Sydney’s leading trainer says he expects Counterattack to hit his straps quicker than Red Tracer, who was sheltered from tough competition until she was a late three-year-old.
“(As) Shellscrape and Red Tracer’s brother, you’re expecting something before you even put a saddle on him,” Waller said.
Counterattack sat sixth on the outside before working into Wednesday’s race at the 400m.
Jockey Blake Shinn urged the $3.50 favourite to the front at the 150m and Counterattack held off Sweet Redemption ($15) to win by a short neck.
Counterattack’s stablemate and first starter So Willie ($21) finished third, two lengths further back and is also in line for a trip north.
Shinn said Counterattack peaked on his run at the 100m but was still good enough to win.
Double Happy gave Waller an early double after sitting wide to win the Liverpool City Council Handicap.
A beaten favourite when resuming at Rosehill on April 1, Double Happy ($5.50) was too good for the favourite Man Of Distinction ($2.40) to win by three-quarters of a length.