The Melbourne spring carnival is likely to be a step too far this year but expectations are high Stout Hearted can go to another level after claiming his first Australian win at Rosehill.
Yet another of the many European imports Chris Waller has trained to success, Stout Hearted posted the first leg of a winning double for the premier stable when he swooped late to take out the ATC Season Pass (1400m).
A winner over 2018 metres in Wales, Stout Hearted had two starts in Sydney earlier this year for a fourth and a third at Canterbury and Waller said he had been a little disappointed.
“We bought him with high expectations and paid a good deal of money for him,” Waller said.
“He’s pretty talented but his first preparation was a learning curve.
“He was a colt and he tricked us a bit but he’s gelded now and I think he’s turned the corner and has a bright future.”
Stout Hearted is raced by long-time stable supporters Geoff and Mary Grimish.
“Geoff asked me before the race if we were going to Melbourne and I said only if it was for an open-class race,” Waller said.
“You have to get those out of the way first.
“But he is by Americain’s sire Dynaformer so you’d have to think he can stay a bit.”
Nathan Berry rode Stout Hearted ($21) who beat stablemate Kelinni, another former European, by a half length.
Glyn Schofield, who rode Kelinni, had better luck on the Waller-trained Madam Nash who led all the way to win the Rydges Parramatta Handicap (1500m).
In an ironic twist, Nash Rawiller, after whom the horse is named, rode another stablemate First Look who finished third.
“She has been a bit of a puzzle and I think Glyn is the key to this horse,” Waller said.
“He got her rolling along today.
“It’s funny because the horse is named after Nash. He and the owner are mates.
“Just the way it worked out, Glyn was riding her today but I’m sure Nash will get his chance on her.”
The decision to import tried horses from the northern hemisphere a few years ago bolstered Waller’s stable numbers and he is now poised to claim his second Sydney premiership.