Gai Waterhouse believes Herculian Prince is capable of turning around a year-long lapse in form in Saturday’s Group One Metropolitan Handicap.
Two inglorious runs in Melbourne so far this campaign prompted Herculian Prince’s return to Sydney for the Group One 2400-metre feature, as racing returns to Randwick.
Herculian Prince won the Metropolitan last year but the six-year-old hasn’t fired in seven starts since then.
“I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him take out his second Metropolitan on Saturday,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s much happier being at home. His attendant, Mel Norton, is marvellous with him and he seems to respond to it.”
Herculian Prince holds special significance in his trainer’s career, with the gelding’s Metropolitan victory 12 months ago bringing up Waterhouse’s 100th success at Group One level.
“He’s a real character, Herculian Prince,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s got a lot of personality and we’re very fond of him in the stables, maybe because of that.”
Herculian Prince beat just one runner home in the Memsie Stakes first-up in Melbourne before leading and weakening to finish 10th in the Naturalism Stakes (2000m) on September 17.
While Herculian Prince is at $31 in TAB Sportsbet’s Metropolitan Handicap market ahead of Wednesday’s acceptances, Waterhouse also has the $8 third favourite in Brisbane Cup winner Tullamore.
Tullamore returned with an encouraging first-up eighth in the Tramway Handicap (1400m) before finishing third to Metropolitan Handicap fancy Trusting in the Hill Stakes (2000m) last start.
“He’s a very good staying horse in the making,” Waterhouse said.
Waterhouse’s first Group One win came in the 1992 Metropolitan Handicap with Te Akau Nick.
She has since added six more courtesy of Electronic (1995), Hula Flight (1996), In Joyment (1998), Coco Cobanna (2000), Dress Circle (2001) and Herculian Prince.