The conditions at Randwick on Saturday will be telling in the fortunes of Chris Waller’s Group One representatives.
Waller has three runners in the $500,000 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and five starters in the $400,000 Metropolitan (2400m).
Randwick was a drying slow (6) on Friday but there is rain predicted for Saturday.
Wet tracker Hawk Island, who’ll be joined by Sydney Cup winner Stand To Gain, Illustrious Blue, The Verminator and the retiring Bellagio Wynn in the Metropolitan, will appreciate it if he gets a rain-affected surface.
“Hawk Island has drawn awkwardly (16) and we’ll probably just ride him a bit conservatively to make sure that we don’t bottom him out, there’s still the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup to think about with him,” Waller said.
“A wet track won’t worry him and he’s going well.”
A wide draw (18) for Wyong Cup winner The Verminator means he is likely to roll forward early to take up a position.
“Hopefully he gets in and he’ll appreciate some cut in the ground. It’s a big jump in class for him but he’s ready to go and has pulled up well from the Newcastle Cup,” Waller said.
“If it’s wet it would also suit Stand To Gain, his runs have been good leading in and he’s ready for the 2400 metres.”
Recent stable acquisition Illustrious Blue, on the other hand, would appreciate a track firmer than slow.
“Illustrious Blue would appreciate a dead track, that would be perfect for him,” Waller said.
“He’s the same as Stand To Gain in that he’s starting to get fit at the right time and his work has been really good.”
Stable stalwart Bellagio Wynn will be out to record a fairytale farewell to racing when he makes his 57th, and most likely final, appearance.
“He probably needs to lift to be able to win it but it’s a fitting finale for a horse that’s been a good horse for the stable,” Waller said.
Imported galloper Foreteller is the most fancied in betting of Waller’s three Epsom runners with Red Tracer and Triple Elegance also in action.
“Foreteller has drawn well (eight) and is going nicely into the run,” Waller said.
“He’s been freshened and set for the race so hopefully he’s good enough for that class.
“Red Tracer has drawn awkwardly (15), we’ll probably go forward and if there’s any rain about it would suit her.
“And Triple Elegance doesn’t want too much rain.”
Waller’s dual Group One winner My Kingdom Of Fife, meanwhile, is set to run as the shortest-priced favourite on the nine-race card in the Group Three Craven Plate (2000m).