After watching the Kentucky Derby from the Churchill Downs stand as a fan, Chris Waller will be back to business at Scone.
Louisville and Scone may seem worlds apart but the two-day carnival in the NSW Hunter Valley is close to Waller’s heart.
The Scone crowd will be minuscule compared to the 145,000 at Churchill Downs who witnessed Always Dreaming win the Derby’s 143rd edition but Sydney’s premier trainer still drew comparisons with the NSW town.
“Louisville has 800,000 people but it’s realistically a country town. It’s the breeding hub of America as is Scone (in Australia).
“There’s a lot of similarities between there and Scone. There’s fantastic open spaces, a lot of history.”
Waller lines up Shillelagh, Tsaritsa and Elle Lou in the Dark Jewel Classic on Saturday.
He rates Shillelagh as his leading hope on the strength of her last-start win in the Godolphin Crown at Hawkesbury.
The five-year-old mare’s win on April 29 enabled her to rebound back from a disappointing 17th in the Group One Coolmore Classic on an unhelpful soft track at Rosehill on March 11.
“I’m very happy with Shillelagh, she bounced back on a better (good) track although she goes up in the weights a bit.”
Shillelagh ($9.50) renews her rivalry with the Ron Quinton-trained Daysee Doom ($4.60), who was runner up in the Godolphin Crown.
Daysee Doom and luckless Hawkesbury runner Artistry are joint favourites for the Group Three race.
While Shillelagh enters the Dark Jewel in winning form, fellow mares Tsaritsa and Elle Lou are $15 chances with Sportsbet.com.au.