Tulloch Lodge is renowned for its `bone and muscle’ approach but it is patience which has underpinned the build up for its two stakes runners at Randwick on Saturday.
The legendary TJ Smith was known for keeping his horses hard-fit, a philosophy continued by his daughter Gai Waterhouse.
But it has been a softer approach which has paid dividends with Spurtonic and Danas Best.
The pair represent Waterhouse’s chances of a stakes double at Randwick with Danas Best to contest the Listed Australia Day Cup and Spurtonic the Carrington Stakes.
Both showed promise during 2013, particularly Spurtonic who won a Group Three race during that year’s Melbourne spring carnival.
But their respective careers stalled last year when they had just four starts between them.
They also had a combined 15 barrier trials during the same period.
It showed a patience Waterhouse is often not credited with and the reward came when Spurtonic scored a first-up win in the Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast.
Danas Best also performed creditably in Queensland finishing fourth in the Magic Millions Stayers Cup after filling the same position behind the in-form Vashka at Rosehill in December.
“They’ve come back super,” Waterhouse said.
“Going to Queensland has just consolidated them, their physique, their coat, everything. I think Spurtonic can win again there (on Saturday).
“And Danas Best has got his foot on the till.”
Danas Best showcased his staying potential with a trio of victories in the winter of 2013 and went on to finish midfield in that year’s Newcastle Cup and Metropolitan.
While he steps up quickly from 1800m at the Gold Coast to Saturday’s 2400m journey, Waterhouse is adamant the horse has a strong fitness foundation.
Along with his two runs this campaign, he was given two preparatory barrier trials and another two during the winter without racing.
“He’s well and truly ready for it,” Waterhouse said.
Bookmakers concur and have posted Danas Best an early $4.60 favourite ahead of the Kris Lees-trained import Oriental Lady at $5.
Spurtonic is on the third line of Carrington Stakes betting at $5.50 with last-start winner She’s Clean the $3.80 top pick.
She’s Clean will bid to continue the good recent record of mares who have won half of the last six runnings of the Listed sprint.