Chris Waller has gently applied the brakes to fast-developing sprinter New Universe.
The three-year-old, originally known as Dark Universe in New Zealand, has won three of his four starts, including an impressive debut for Sydney’s premier trainer at Rosehill earlier this month.
New Universe motored home from well back on the turn to win the 1200m-race by a length.
“He couldn’t have been more impressive. He went back from a wide gate, won it with ease,” Waller said.
New Universe lines up in Saturday’s Saintly Hall Of Fame Handicap (1100m) on his new home track.
Waller, who took over training New Universe from Chris Wood late last year, said although he could have stepped him up in distance he decided it was appropriate to stay put.
“I think quite often we step horses up too quick. They’re injecting a lot of prize money into sprint races so he’s a horse that we’ll target at sprints until such time he needs to step up to 1400 metres or even a mile,” he said.
New Universe, who is unbeaten on soft tracks – the likely surface on race day with showers forecast – was the $2.30 favourite with the Luxbet on race eve.
“It’s his home track, he’s drawn favourably (6). He’s the top weight (58.5kg) but there’s not a big spread in weight,” Waller said.
“If he got beaten I’d be disappointed.”
Waller is also confident Montauk ($8) would bounce back from a luckless fourth in the Listed Wagga Cup (2000m) on May 5 when he backs up in the J B Cummings Hall Of Fame Handicap (2000m).
The four-year-old was hampered at the start and then blocked in the straight at Wagga.
“He had no luck and came from a long way back to finish close to the placegetters,” Waller said.
“He gets a suitable distance, a soft track should be fine, and based on his run at Wagga he’s the one to beat.”