Chris Waller has unveiled another class stayer to watch in 2023 following the superb Australian debut of Soulcombe to win the Group 3 Queen’s Cup at Flemington on Saturday.
Just two weeks ago, Waller saddled import Francesco Guardi to an impressive G2 Moonee Valley Cup win and while the Queen’s Cup might not have had the same depth, Waller said he is hopeful he too can have an impact on the major staying races next year.
“He’s got a bright future,” Waller said after the horse’s soft two-and-a-quarter-length win.
“It’s a big thing coming all the way out from the Northern Hemisphere and he’s obviously had a fairly long season, so to try and piece everything together, it turned out well.”
Soulcombe came out to Australia as part of the second shipment to the International Horse Centre at Werribee along with five Melbourne Cup-bound horses and he immediately made an impact by proving difficult to get onto the track each morning to work.
Waller said the horse has his quirks and thanked his former trainer for having him in such good order for his trip to Australia after he was purchased by regular clients including Ozzie Kheir and John O’Neill.
“I can’t take credit for today’s win,” Waller said. “I have to thank William Haggas and he’s obviously placed the horse well and looked after him well and I think that it is important when we do get a horse is knowing where it came from.
“He’s had a good start in life and it’s my job to try and take that next step.
“He’s pretty exciting. I keep in good contact with him (Haggas) and he’s fantastic to deal with. He said he was a horse that we should look at.”
Handled well by Craig Williams, Soulcombe ($3 fav) settled back then came with a withering finishing burst to win by two-and-a-quarter-lengths from Luncies ($5.50), with Captain Envious ($17) in third place.
Saturday’s win was just Soulcombe’s eighth start and Waller said he is most unlikely to have any more before the end of the year.
“I won’t say no, but unlikely as it eats into the autumn, which eats into the spring,” Waller said.
“He’s still a handicapper with a light rating. He was probably over-placed today in terms of where we could have run him.
“The next six months is not easy for them once they get into our zones. It’s a bit of a challenge, so we have to deal with that.”