Chris Waller will revive the partnerships between two of his best horses and their regular riders when Boban and Hawkspur strive to recapture form in Saturday’s Chipping Norton Stakes.
Glyn Schofield links with Boban for the first time this campaign while Jim Cassidy will reunite with Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur.
One of the stars of the spring, Boban has turned in two even performances in the Expressway and Apollo Stakes but is yet to show the acceleration which defined his last campaign.
Similarly, Hawkspur started favourite in the Caulfield Cup and was an eye-catching seventh but made an inconclusive return in the CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield last month under jockey Michael Walker.
Cassidy says that like Boban, Hawkspur still needs to prove himself this preparation.
“Hawkspur is probably along the lines of Boban. Have they come up again?” Cassidy said.
“They’ve both got to bounce back.”
Hawkspur settled closer to the speed than expected in the Orr and tired to finish last, an effort that raised more questions than it answered.
“That race first-up was a bit upside down. He got chasing a fair way from home and it stopped him from being able to run on,” Cassidy said.
“Saturday will give us an idea of where we’re going.”
The Waller stable feels Hawkspur will be suited at Warwick Farm where a rain-affected track is expected.
He will be one of eight runners in the first Group One of the Sydney autumn, a race headlined by one of the carnival’s anticipated stars in It’s A Dundeel.
Meanwhile, trainer John O’Shea is disappointed with a wide draw for White Sage in the Group Three Liverpool City Cup (1300m).
The mare has drawn the outside gate in 12, an issue compounded by an abundance of rivals with early pace.
“She has drawn terribly in a race in which there’s plenty of speed,” O’Shea said.
“But the horse herself is great.”
Rain Affair was not among acceptances for the Liverpool City Cup with Joe Pride sticking to his original plan to run him in the Canterbury Stakes a week later.
Stablemate Terravista will take his place, as will Kiwi three-year-old El Roca who was a forced scratching from the Hobartville Stakes last weekend when his trainer inadvertently breached pre-race treatment rules.