Role Model’s contrary nature has tested the patience of Gai Waterhouse but the Randwick trainer is confident she is finally winning the battle of wills.
With an attitude more rebellious teenager than elite athlete, Waterhouse admits Role Model has been a challenge.
“She is an exceptionally hard mare to train,” Waterhouse said.
“She’s got a mind of her own.
“But she’s loving it now, I’ve got a different Role Model.”
A two-time Group placegetter in New Zealand, Role Model arrived at Tulloch Lodge last year for an autumn three-year-old campaign.
Her trio of starts for Waterhouse were a mixed bag.
An encouraging second to Zanbagh in the Keith Nolan Classic at Kembla Grange was followed by a midfield performance in the Adrian Knox Stakes before she tailed out after racing handy in the Australian Oaks, pulling up with a poor post-race recovery.
She bypassed the spring and is set to resume in Saturday’s James Boag’s Premium Handicap (1200m) at Randwick in a race Waterhouse will be a gauge for the autumn.
“She has come of age and matured. A lot of these horses from New Zealand are like the European stayers, they take a prep or two to get right,” she said.
“I think she’ll run a great race on Saturday.”
Waterhouse is also upbeat about debutant Street Rapper who takes on Godolphin youngster Haptic in the opening race.
Godolphin has an embarrassment of riches in its juvenile ranks this season and with a recent barrier trial win over stablemate and last Saturday’s winner Holler, Haptic is odds-on to continue Sheikh Mohammed’s successful run.
Waterhouse is not intimidated and says Street Rapper is a winning chance.
“He’s been working with horses like (Breeder’s Plate winner) Vancouver, nothing phases him. He’s a very natural, talented two-year-old,” Waterhouse said.
“I think he’s a well above average horse.”