Chris Waller is certain the Golden Rose can bring out the best in Press Statement, clearing the way for the colt to become a benchmark three-year-old of Australian racing.
Press Statement is the only Group One winner in the $1 million race at Rosehill on Saturday and Waller is counting on his class edge to complement a preference for firm ground and 1400 metres.
“Fourteen hundred metres on a good track will suit him, it will be able to have him near his peak and then it’s a matter of finding out if that peak if good enough,” Waller said.
Waller likens Press Statement to Zoustar and Brazen Beau, two colts with sprinting pedigrees he moulded into marketable stallion prospects at a comparative stage of their careers.
Zoustar won the 2013 Golden Rose and Waller has given Press Statement an identical campaign after the colt’s win in the Group One J J Atkins during the Brisbane winter carnival.
But Waller insists until Press Statement can match the overall records of Zoustar and Brazen Beau, he is only halfway to becoming the racehorse he thinks he can be.
“They went on and did it. This horse is still got to do it,” Waller said.
“The job’s half done. He’s earned some respect as having the potential to be a top horse.
“And now in the next three or four months he could be one of the best of the year.”
Vinery Stud and the China Horse Club have bought 50 per cent of Press Statement, a significant change in the colt’s ownership which isn’t lost on Waller.
“The original owners who are still in the horse for 50 per cent have got a good return and now it is my job to get a good return for Vinery as well,” Waller said.
“Again half the job is only half done.”
The Golden Rose was reduced to a field of eight on Friday when the Peter Moody-trained Gold Symphony was found to have an elevated temperature.
Gold Symphony was rated the best of the double-figure chances after two recent Melbourne wins and his absence has confirmed Exosphere, Press Statement and the filly Speak Fondly as the three standout chances in betting.
The fact Exosphere is being challenged for favouritism is of no concern to jockey James McDonald.
“With the good barrier we’ve got he’s going to give himself every chance and he’s definitely the horse to beat,” he said.