Waller’s big call for Randwick feature
SYDNEY'S champion trainer Chris Waller is usually temperate when commenting on his stable runners which makes his declaration My Nordic Hero is primed for the best race of his preparation even more meaningful.
My Nordic Hero, the talented and consistent grey, is a $2.30 second favourite behind Life Less Ordinary ($2.20) with Ladbrokes to score a career-best win in the Group 3 $160,000 Summer Cup (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Boxing Day.
He goes to the feature after three impressive lead-up runs - a second to Firsthand in the November Handicap, his fast-finishing win in the Listed Festival Stakes then his closing third to Sky Boy and Aloisia in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes.
"I thought My Nordic Hero's Villiers run was excellent, as have each of his runs this preparation,'' Waller said.
"When he was in work last time, his best distance was 2000m and he looks like he has come back better. This should be the best race of his preparation.''
Waller conceded My Nordic Hero is "getting up in weight and has got a wide draw'' but he remains confident the gelding will prove hard to beat in the Summer Cup.
My Nordic Hero is attempting to join Stoway (2002) as the only greys to win the Summer Cup since champion Ming Dynasty in 1976.
Waller, who saddled up the first five placegetters in the nine-horse Warwick Farm 2000m race won by Naval Warfare last Saturday, is propping up the Summer Cup field with half of the 12 runners.
The Hall of Fame trainer also has topweight Life Less Ordinary, Satono Rosen, Alward, Black On Gold and Abdon lining up alongside My Nordic Hero today.
"I don't think Life Less Ordinary stayed the 2200m in the Ballarat Cup last start,'' Waller said.
"But he has run well in Group 1 races earlier in his preparation and we have kept him fresh for this race giving him a short, sharp (barrier) trial last week.''
Waller said Black On Gold and Alward need a dry track and both horses are likely to get track conditions to suit today.
"Black On Gold and Alward are similar horses, they are capable and down in the weights which is a plus for them,'' he added.
Abdon takes winning form into the Summer Cup after his narrow win at Rosehill earlier this month while Satono Rasen has struggled in Australia to reproduce his Japanese form which included a Group 2 win and a Group 1 Japan Derby second placing.
Waller will also be represented by promising three-year-old fillies Zalatte and Welsh Legend in the Boxing Day opener, the TAB Handicap (1600m).
Zalatte, part-owned by Peter Tighe of Winx fame and Waller himself, has won her only two starts and is the hottest favourite on the program at $1.40 but the trainer suggested stablemate Welsh Legend ($3.80) will make a race of it.
"We are taking Zalatte through her grades, building her confidence, and she does look promising,'' Waller said.
"The plan is to run her over the mile (1600m, today) and then give her a short break and look at the autumn carnival in Sydney or Brisbane with her.
"But Welsh Legend is doing good things, she is a good horse. She had nothing go her way last start when she missed the (kick) but still ran second on a night (at Canterbury) when it was hard to make ground. She will test Zalatte.''
Waller's unraced juveniles, Bacchus, Olympic and Dolci clash in the #TheRaces Handicap (1100m).
Bacchus won a barrier trial at Randwick last week, Olympic has created a good impression in two trials and Dolci, is part-owned by AFL stars Luke Hodge, Jarryd Roughead and Jack Gunston.