While punters have anointed Japonisme the pick of Chris Waller’s three BTC Cup runners, the trainer is more guarded.
Waller said he could make a case for all three – Japonisme, Delectation and Counterattack – as the stable looks to rack up a 16th Group One win for the season at Doomben on Saturday.
Japonisme and Delectation have already played their parts in the tally with respective wins in the Coolmore Stud Stakes and Darley Classic.
The money has come for Japonisme who has displaced Canberra sprinter Fell Swoop as the favourite for the first Group One race of the Brisbane carnival.
“Japonisme is proven at Group One level and is back in form with a good win last start,” Waller said.
“He has drawn perfectly in gate three so that is in his favour.
“Delectation has drawn awkwardly (12).
“I feel he is more of a Doomben 10,000 horse. He seems to have lost a bit of speed over shorter distances but that may be exaggerated by him not settling as well as he should.
“I want to get Counterattack to the Stradbroke and whether this is the right race for him is a question.
“He is a lightly raced horse destined for Group Ones but he might be a season away.”
Japonisme was the TAB’s $4.20 favourite on Friday with Counterattack at $8.50 and Delectation at $14.
After being given barrier trials in Sydney last Friday, all three were dispatched to Brisbane to be given time to settle in.
“They all trialled well and have been there for a week,” Waller said.
“That gives them time to get used to their surroundings.”
Last-start Hawkesbury winner Mackintosh is the equal $3.50 favourite with Cylinder Beach for the Rough Habit Plate (2000m), a traditional lead-up to the Queensland Derby on June 11.
The Waller-trained Encosta Line, the $7 Derby favourite, will run in the Grand Prix Stakes on May 28 while Mackintosh will need a late entry to run in the Group One race two weeks later.
Multifacets is a $26 chance for the Derby and is a $10 chance to stamp himself a contender in the Rough Habit Plate.