Chris Waller’s decision to add Japanese talent to his stable is set to pay off when Satono Rasen spearheads a six-pronged attack on the Group One Doomben Cup.
Although the six-year-old finished out of the money in the Group Two Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast, his second run on Australian soil drew high praise from Sydney’s premier trainer.
Satono Rasen was blocked for a run more than once but still managed to finish fourth, 2-1/2 lengths from Oregon’s Day on May 5.
“It was a brilliant run in the Hollindale. He’s ticking all the boxes and he’s settled in very well since arriving from Japan,” Waller said.
“Obviously winning a Group One race is hard but he’s heading in the right direction to do so.”
Waller’s racing manager Charlie Duckworth said he was inundated with inquiries from jockeys’ managers after the Hollindale.
“I think just about every rider’s agent in the country rung me on the Sunday after his last start,” he said.
“We went with Glyn (Schofield) purely because he’s a horse that can get up on the bridle and Glyn has pretty soft hands. He should be able to get him to switch off and relax.”
Schofield has ridden Satono Rasen in a barrier trial and is happy to take the ride in Saturday’s 2000m-feature.
“He was luckless but I loved his run on the Gold Coast,” Schofield said.
“With a bit more luck he’ll be hard to beat.”
Satono Rasen was on the third line of betting with the TAB on Friday at $5.50 with the Mick Price-trained Oregon’s Day the well-supported $3.90 favourite ahead of the Anthony Freedman-trained Japanese import Ambitious ($4.40).
Of his other runners, Waller admits some are disadvantaged by their barriers or unsuitable track conditions.
He said Michael Walker needed to work Comin’ Through into a handy position and conserve energy from the outside gate while nine is not so good for Tom Melbourne, who recorded his latest second in the Hollindale Stakes.
“The draw makes it hard because he’s a hard horse to ride,” Waller said on his weekly stable update.
He is happy with Egg Tart after her fifth in the Hollindale Stakes after she was also stuck in traffic and confident Life Less Ordinary’s ($10) can be competitive at Group One level after claiming the Listed Wagga Gold Cup (2000m).
“He’s now showing us what he promised,” Waller said.
One Foot In Heaven prefers softer ground.