Chris Waller no longer has Winx in the field, but Sydney’s leading trainer is still confident he can launch a worthy assault on the Apollo Stakes.
The Group One-placed Comin’ Through resumes with the G1 Doncaster Mile his aim, while Endless Drama attempts to improve on a first-up third in the Listed Carrington Stakes in Saturday’s Group Two 1400m feature at Randwick.
Waller was optimistic about both runners and admitted the onus was particularly on the recently gelded Comin’ Through as he strives to rediscover the form that produced a string of impressive results as a three-year-old, including a third in last year’s Group One Randwick Guineas.
Comin’ Through races for the first time since struggling in the Group One Toorak Handicap in October.
“It’s so early in the preparation, you’ve got so many options but I’d like to think Comin’ Through will be a Doncaster horse,” Waller said.
He was encouraged by Comin’ Through’s performances when fresh, noting he won the first two starts of his previous preparation, including the Group Three Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) in September.
“He’s pretty handy fresh though this is weight-for-age racing so it’s obviously another step up for him,” Waller said.
Comin’ Through carries 59kg for the first time in his 11-race career when he reunites with Jason Collett who was in the saddle for his first two starts.
Waller was pleased with Endless Drama’s return in the Carrington Stakes, in which he followed Lanciato and Prized Icon home after being trapped wide without cover.
“His first-up run was brilliant and hopefully with a good gate (3) he’ll get everything in his favour,” he said.
Comin’ Through was the joint $5 second elect with Prized Icon while Endless Drama was a $5.50 chance in Thursday’s TAB market led by the Bjorn Baker-trained Addictive Nature ($3.60).
The field was reduced to eight on Thursday when trainer Mark Newnham confirmed Lanciato would wait for the Group Three Newcastle Newmarket Handicap on March 9.
Waller has nine runners at Randwick but the focus will still be on Winx who runs in a simulated 1200m race with four stablemates ahead of her comeback in the Group One Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 3.
Connections changed Winx’s race plans when Hugh Bowman was suspended.
“It’ll be good for Hugh to get aboard, good for the horse and good for me,” Waller said.
“I feel the race day nerves like anybody. This is just like a pre-season game in any sport. It’ll help make sure everything goes smoothly.”