Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) favourite, Kolding. Photo: Grant Peters
Expat New Zealand trainer Chris Waller has a strong hand in Saturday’s Gr.1 Epsom (1600m) at Randwick, led by a number of New Zealand-breds.
Waller has six horses in the field, including Kolding, a $5 favourite with TAB bookmakers.
The son of Ocean Park, who was purchased by Guy Mulcaster out of Wentwood Grange’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale draft for $170,000, is heading into the race off the back of a last start victory in the Gr.3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick.
“Kolding would be our pick along with Star Of The Seas, and the market backs this up,” Waller said.
“Kolding has done a great job through the autumn and has come back very well in the spring.
“He has got Glen Boss aboard. I have been very happy with his work over the past fortnight since his good last start win.”
Star Of The Seas is another New Zealand-bred contender for Waller and is rated a $19 winning chance by bookmakers.
“Star of The Seas has been set for the race for some time,” Waller said. “He had no luck a fortnight ago (when finishing unplaced in the Bill Ritchie Handicap).
“Fortunately he has found his way into the race. He has drawn a little bit awkwardly (barrier 14), but Michael Dee is a good rider under these circumstances, he has won a couple of Group One miles for the stable.
“He has the blinkers back on. I think all of his wins he has had the blinkers on. We took them off for his first couple of runs this preparation.”
Kaonic rounds out a trio of Kiwi-bred runners for Waller and he is expecting a good showing from the five-year-old after his fourth-placing in the Gr.3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) last start.
“Kaonic is never far away and has threatened to be a good horse,” Waller said. “He has won some nice races and has been placed behind good horses.
“He has come back a nice horse as a gelding this prep. There was a lot of merit to his run at Newcastle when coming from a long way back.
“He gets his chance here and will be strong at the end of the mile.”
Meanwhile, Waller will be looking to get Verry Elleegant’s spring campaign back on track in the Gr.2 Hill Stakes (2000m) earlier in the card.
“She stepped away slightly slow (last start in the Gr.1 George Main Stakes, 1600m), we asked her to quicken to try and hold a position and she got a little bit keen as a consequence.
“We have got the right man for the job, he knows the horse well and James (McDonald, jockey) will position her where he thinks she is comfortable.
“If she is going to be running in Cox Plates (Gr.1, 2040m) or Caulfield Cups (Gr.1, 2400m) she has got to be fighting out the finish in this race.”