No stopping Chris Waller as Preferment pounces on Group 2 feature at Randwick

The all-conquering Chris Waller trained half the program at a Sydney Saturday meeting for the second week in a row when Preferment fought back to win the Group 2 $200,000 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.


Waller had another day out with his four stakes wins including the Group 1 George Main Stakes with Kermadec. The haul complemented the trainer’s stakes race treble at the Newcastle Gold Cup meeting on Friday. He also trained four winners at Rosehill last Saturday.


But Waller’s win with Preferment surprised the trainer as he very nearly scratched the stayer yesterday morning due to the heavy track.


“I had a think about it and thought, Bart Cummings, what would he do?’’ Waller said. “Preferment needs to get mileage into his legs to be ready for these big races like the Melbourne Cup so he’s got to run in them.


“He’s a genuine stayer, he’s a Zabeel, he’s a colt with a big future. He will head to either the Turnbull at Flemington or back here for the Craven Plate next start. But he’s more a horse to take the Caulfield Cup route than the Cox Plate route and hopefully he’s there on the first Tuesday in November.


“We won’t get too far ahead of ourselves but we are looking forward to it.”


Preferment ($21), the Victoria Derby winner last spring, scored only his second race win when he fought back after being headed by Magic Hurricane ($4.80) to win by a long head with Complacent ($4.20) three-quarters of length away third.


Champion jockey Hugh Bowman partnered Preferment and he also believes the stayer is right on target for the Melbourne Cup.


“They went along at a good gallop, which suited this guy,’’ Bowman said. “This is not his ideal ground but he s a real stunning type and an exciting animal.


“It is the first time I’ve been on him for a long time. I was suspended when he was running in Melbourne this time last year when he went on to win the Derby.


“He is a horse who I’ve always had a very high opinion of and to see him come here and perform like that on soft ground, it spells big things for the remainder of the spring for him.


“He is a beautiful looking horse, he always has been.


“He has got a beautiful, big, strong gait about him. He has got a big spring ahead.” – Ray Thomas, The Sunday Telegraph.