Surprise package Landing will spearhead trainer Gai Waterhouse’s assault on the feature races at Hawkesbury’s showpiece meeting on Saturday.
Waterhouse was the dominant force during the Sydney autumn with 17 winners over the six-week carnival, including seven at Group One level.
She is adamant her stable’s run can continue on to Hawkesbury with Landing the $1.70 TAB Sportsbet favourite in the Listed Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m).
Landing is unbeaten in four starts and handled his first stakes test with ease in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) at Randwick last start.
“Landing will win. He’s a really good horse,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s got the most amazing cruising speed and turn of foot. He’s really electrifying.”
Waterhouse admits Landing’s rapid rise has taken her by surprise and the trainer is even considering the Group One Stradbroke Handicap for the gelding should he come through the Hawkesbury and then Scone Guineas in good order.
“Absolutely he’s surprised me,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s just gone ahead in leaps and bounds and after every win he just keeps improving again on the track.”
Landing will be ridden by premier jockey Nash Rawiller who also rates the three-year-old highly.
“He’s a horse that’s continued to improve and I couldn’t believe the improvement he made between his win at Warwick Farm and his last start win at Randwick,” Rawiller said.
“There’s no reason to think he would have gone backwards since then.”
Rawiller also teams with the Waterhouse-trained Fast Clip who is favourite in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m).
Fast Clip will be joined in the race by stablemate Western Symbol who is dropping back in distance after winning stakes races over 2000m at his past two starts.
“I thought Fast Clip would be extremely hard to beat,” Waterhouse said.
“Why is Western Symbol in a 1600 metre race? He’s in there because I thought he just needed to do something,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s just so above himself and jumping all over the place. He will be very competitive and then he’ll go to Queensland heading for the (Brisbane) Cup.”
More Strawberries, Waterhouse’s representative in the Listed Darley Crown (1300m), failed first-up in the Sapphire Stakes (1200m) and Waterhouse is hoping for a turnaround.
“I personally think she might have been looking for further but I don’t know. I can’t pinpoint it,” she said.
“She’s been working the place down.”