Waller Chasing More Spoils in QE Stakes

1 05 2008

From AAP

(SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA) – Fresh from celebrating his first Group One win in the Doncaster Handicap, trainer Chris Waller returns to Randwick with Honor In War who he believes is a great hope of giving the stable its second major race in a week.

Waller said Honor In War was primed to make amends for his George Ryder flop in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and put another significant trophy in the cabinet after Triple Honour’s Doncaster victory.

Honor In War was all at sea on the heavy Rosehill track in the George Ryder (1500m) on April 19 when he finished last to star Melbourne galloper Weekend Hussler.

“He’s been faultless in his preparation and I wouldn’t worry about his form because he’ll be a new horse turning up on a firmer track that’s for sure, if he does get a dead track he’ll be very hard to beat,” Waller said.

The Randwick surface was upgraded from slow to dead for Wednesday’s AJC Australian Oaks meeting and with no rain forecast over the next couple of days Waller could get the track he’s looking for.

“The more it (track) keeps improving, the better his chances get, it’s a good field but he’s got plenty of class and will be right in the mix,” Waller said.

Honor In War is a Group One winner in America but his most significant victory since coming to Australia almost 20 months ago has been his Group Two Villiers Handicap triumph in January.

That came in the stewards’ room after international sprint star Takeover Target was first past the post before losing the race on protest.

“He’s due for a change of luck too, if you look at his run in the Chipping Norton two starts back he was very unlucky,” Waller said.

Honor In War copped a bump and almost fell rounding the home turn in the Chipping Norton in March and lost all momentum with Darren Beadman giving him an easy time in the straight.

The outstanding Queen Elizabeth field features AJC Australian Derby winner Nom Du jeu, BMW winner Tuesday Joy, Thousand Guineas winner Serious Speed and weight-for-age heavyweight Desert War who is having his last race.

Desert War has been one of Sydney’s most popular gallopers for several seasons but trainer Gai Waterhouse and owners Gooree Stud believe the time is right to retire him.

The frontrunning gelding is a six-time winner at the top level and will be lining up in his fourth Queen Elizabeth (2000m) after finishing seventh in 2005 and 2006 before a brilliant all-the-way win last year.

“Obviously it will be a good race but there are a few horses in it coming back in distance like Tuesday Joy and Nom Du Jeu,” Waller said.

“And the smaller field (10) should ensure that the best horse wins the race and I’m confident with Nash Rawiller on board, he’ll have him just off the speed and give him every chance.”

Waller said Double Dare was a doubtful starter in Saturday’s All-Aged Stakes (1400m) and would most likely be saved for the BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday week.