The certainty of a wet track at Randwick has boosted Chris Waller’s confidence import One Foot In Heaven can break his Australian duck.
The former French galloper will be one of three Waller-trained runners in Saturday’s $500,000 St Leger Stakes (2600m) joining Metropolitan Handicap winner Patrick Erin and Libran.
But given Patrick Erin rises 8.5kg on his Metropolitan win and Libran’s best form is on firm ground, Waller believes conditions are ripe for One Foot In Heaven to get his first local win on the board.
The seven-year-old has only raced on firm tracks in his five Australian runs, his best result a last-start fourth to Ace High in the Hill Stakes.
He is a four-time winner on soft ground in France and Waller is looking forward to seeing what he can produce on a rain-affected Randwick.
“We saw a glimpse of some better form from him last start and he is crying out for a bit of give in the track so Saturday will suit,” Waller said.
“It was a much better run last start. He has won over 2400 metres in France, so clearly he is going to be very hard to beat.”
The trainer acknowledges Patrick Erin faces a tough task with 59.5kg on Saturday but feels the race will provide an ideal stepping stone to a potential Melbourne Cup campaign with the horse likely to miss out on a 2018 Caulfield Cup start.
“It is a slight concern with the weight but he has certainly come through his Metropolitan run well and this Saturday’s race will only be his fourth run for the preparation,” Waller said.
“It is still our intention to get him down to Melbourne and he may need to run in a race like the Lexus, hoping to get a start in the Melbourne Cup.”
The trainer was all but cursing the wet weather for Libran who has been racing without luck and appeared to have found a winnable race on a dry track.
“His heavy track form is a concern,” Waller said.
“Hopefully we can see an improvement in the weather over the next few days as the distance suits, as does the set weights and penalties scale.”