Dressage has emerged as a key part of a training regime trainer Chris Waller has used to help revive Boban’s chances of back-to-back Epsom Handicap wins.
Waller has turned to the discipline involving trotting and cantering, changes in sequence and extended gaits to try to get the best out of Boban after an indifferent spring campaign.
“It’s a complete change in the fitness regime and it helps to keep the horses interested,” Waller said.
“The routine also helps keep the horses flexible and build core muscles.”
One of four Epsom runners for Waller, Boban hasn’t been able to figure among the placings in three spring weight-for-age runs.
He left Sydney’s all-conquering stable mystified with his fifth to Dissident in the Makybe Diva Stakes after giving jockey Glyn Schofield the impression he would be in the finish at the 400m.
Waller horses occupy the top three lines of Epsom betting including Royal Descent, the 2013 ATC Australian Oaks winner who has been joined as favourite by Toydini from the Hawkes family stable.
He’s Your Man and Boban share the second tier at $6 while Waller’s fourth runner Lucky Chappy is a $35 chance.
Waller has settled on Royal Descent as the horse most likely to give him another Group One win over the famous Randwick mile on Saturday.
“I’d put Royal Descent on top,” Waller said.
“Boban has to get back to his career-best form and He’s Your Man has to go to his career-best over a mile, which he hasn’t done in the past.”
Gai Waterhouse likes the prospects of her Epsom trio, Liberty’s Choice, Pheidon and Woodbine, who are on the 52kg limit and receiving 6kg off Boban.
“He’s (Boban) a bit out of form so the light weights might have a real chance,” she said.
Veteran jockey Chris Munce won an Epsom on the Waterhouse-trained Iron Horse but he will be in the Hawkes Racing camp on Saturday.
Munce has been called in to replace the suspended Brenton Avdulla on Ninth Legion, an on-pace runner who backs up after his Shannon Stakes placing last week.
Now Brisbane-based, Munce has won six Group One races over the Randwick mile.
Ninth Legion will be a more than worthy second stringer to stablemate Toydini, one of the best-backed runners to improve on his photo-finish third to Boban last year.
Toydini, who will have blinkers fitted on Saturday, has firmed to $5 to be equal top pick with Royal Descent.
MUNCE’S MILES AND MILES OF RANDWICK SUCCESS
* 1995 Epsom Hcp – Nick’s Joy
* 1997 Epsom Hcp – Iron Horse
* 1999 Flight Stakes – Danglissa
* 2001 Doncaster Mile – Assertive Lad
* 2002 George Main Stakes – Defier
* 2004 Champagne Stakes – Dance Hero