One of the modern-day greats is providing a spring template for Chris Waller to help put Press Statement at the forefront of his bid for a breakthrough Cox Plate win.
Waller trains the Cox Plate favourite Kermadec but Press Statement is at prohibitive odds to at least stay on course for a start in the weight-for-age race by winning the Stan Fox Stakes at Rosehill.
It was at the corresponding Sydney meeting six years ago that So You Think emerged as a quality three-year-old to win the Gloaming Stakes before claiming the Cox Plate two starts later.
Of the nine three-year-olds among the 73 second acceptors for the Cox Plate, Press Statement is a standout from the age group because of his Group One win last season.
Waller said there was so much to unfold over the next month of racing that history dictated it was impossible to predict with any certainty what could happen.
“It’s a great time of the year in that respect,” Waller said.
“You just don’t know where the next Cox Plate winner is coming from.
“So You Think won the Gloaming and went down and won and these days you don’t know what’s getting off the plane from Germany, Japan or Ireland.”
Press Statement has been beaten in two starts this season, the latest when luck deserted jockey Tye Angland in the straight in the Golden Rose.
But Waller said Press Statement deserved his place among the 12 horses the trainer still had in Cox Plate calculations.
“I think most horses of his ability would be left in the Cox Plate,” Waller said.
“In recent years it’s been a natural progression if you are going well after the Caulfield Guineas.”
The Caulfield Guineas is the pivotal race if Waller wants to break new ground as a trainer by running a three-year-old in the Cox Plate.
“He’d be in the paddock if he didn’t win the Guineas,” Waller said. “In fact he’d be in the paddock if he didn’t run well on Saturday.”
Bookmakers expect nothing other than a return to winning form as Press Statement takes on five Stan Fox rivals.
Press Statement has tightened from $1.60 to $1.40 while Rageese, the Hawkes Racing colt which finished in front of Press Statement in the Golden Rose, is the closest in betting at $4.80.
Rosehill recorded 5mm of overnight rain but it was not enough to affect the rating of the track which stayed in the good range on Friday.