Hoping to raise a glass to the barman in Cup
LEADING Sydney trainer Chris Waller broke his grand slam drought when Winx took out last month's $3 million Cox Plate, and the former New Zealander has three chances of adding a Melbourne Cup today.
Despite dominating racing in Sydney for the past five years, and having plenty of success in Melbourne, Waller had not won any of the Grand Slam races - the Golden Slipper, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate or Melbourne Cup - until Winx led her rivals a merry dance in Australasia's weight-for-age championship.
He will saddle up Preferment ($10), Who Shot Thebarman (pictured, $18) and Grand Marshal ($41) in today's race, and gives punters a lead by suggesting Who Shot Thebarman, who ran third behind Protectionist in the Cup last year, represents the best value of his three runners.
"He's great value," Waller told racing.com. "His form is coming through the right races, he's just that little bit stronger and he's the benchmark of my horses.
"He ran third in the race last year and you quite often see that form repeating."
The trainer certainly wasn't ruling Preferment out as a potential winner, saying last year's Victoria Derby winner had come through the Cox Plate well.
"We think running in the Cox Plate deserves enough respect alone, let alone worrying about where he finished," Waller said.
"He's really coming to his peak now - he's by Zabeel, he's got a good draw, a good jockey aboard, he's got 53.5kg - there's just so many good factors to suggest he could win a Melbourne Cup."