There is no substitute for race fitness and that is trainer Chris Waller’s only reservation ahead of the return of promising colt Yes Yes Yes in the Group Two Run To The Rose.
Two of his main rivals at Rosehill on Saturday, race favourite Exceedance and second-elect Bivouac, both have runs on the board this spring.
Exceedance resumed with an impressive first-up win in the San Domenico Stakes while Bivouac has two runs under his belt, following a strong victory in Melbourne with a San Domenico placing.
Yes Yes Yes had been scheduled to kick off his 2019 Golden Rose campaign in the same race two weeks ago but was scratched because of a heavy track and Waller says that could be telling this weekend.
“I think there’s plenty of improvement from race fitness and that’s where a few horses in Saturday’s race have a slight edge over us,” Waller said.
“But I can assure you he’ll not only run well on Saturday, he will improve and be a genuine Golden Rose contender.”
Yes Yes Yes showcased his promise as an autumn two-year-old winning the Group Two Todman Stakes and finishing a creditable seventh on a heavy track in the Golden Slipper.
He attracted the interest of Coolmore Stud, who bought a stake in the colt, and have earmarked him as a possible candidate for its vacant slot in the $14 million Everest.
James McDonald was expected to partner Yes Yes Yes having been aboard for his trials and exhibition gallop but will instead ride stablemate Kubrick with Nash Rawiller taking over the reins on the former, the rejigging simply down to weight.
“Nash Rawiller can’t ride down at 55 kilos so we thought it would be better if Nash rode Yes Yes Yes and James could slide across to Kubrick,” Waller said.
Stablemate Kubrick returns in the 1200m-race after a campaign that culminated in a second to Prince Fawaz in the Group One J J Atkins, a race which has been a reliable launch-pad for several top-class Waller horses.
The Autumn Sun (2018) and Press Statement (2015) both won the Brisbane feature and went on to further Group One success, while Zoustar was runner-up the Atkins in 2013 on his way to winning the Golden Rose (1400m).
Kubrick is likewise on a path to the Group One Rosehill spring showpiece, a race that will determine if he is extended in distance to the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) or freshened for the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m).
“His Queensland form should stand up. It’s been a good formula for the stable in recent years,” Waller said.
“Like Yes Yes Yes, he will improve with Saturday’s run but he’s on target for the Golden Rose 14 days later and he’s a pretty versatile horse having won over 1000 metres in his maiden and placing in a Group One mile.”