Two recent arrivals to Chris Waller’s stable made the ideal first impression for Sydney’s leading trainer by nailing a quickfire double at Rosehill.
Although Solo Mission and Tougherthantherest were sent out as $21 chances, they made a mockery of those odds and in one case a pessimistic outlook from Waller’s racing manager, Charlie Duckworth.
In the aftermath of English stayer Solo Mission’s narrow victory in the Schweppes Handicap (1500m), Duckworth confessed: “He’s made me look foolish.”
The four-year-old gelding joined Waller’s Melbourne operation in the spring and headed to Sydney without trialling.
It was his first race since a run over 2812m in Scotland in September and the shortest trip he had tackled in a 10-race career.
“We don’t know much about him than watching his Flemington jump-outs, we thought this would be too short and sharp,” Duckworth said.
“I know were were probably a little bit negative on how we thought he was going to run. We weren’t trying to mislead anyone, we’re just trying to give anyone an honest opinion.”
Solo Mission denied Bastia ($7) by a short neck. All Too Huiying ($11) was a short half-head third.
Waller also benefited from Keith Dryden’s assessment of Tougherthantherest as the gelding made a successful start to life in Sydney.
The Canberra trainer sent the four-year-old to Waller in March after Tougherthantherest won the Listed National Sprint (1400m).
His smooth transition was illustrated by a resilient victory in the Rygate Racecourse Design Handicap (1350m) on Saturday on his new home track.
Tougherthantherest ($21) improved his record to six wins and five minor placings from 12 starts by holding off Special Missile ($3.40) by a short neck.
Serene Miss, the $2.60 favourite, was 1-1/4 lengths third.
“We often send Keith horses that aren’t up to city level and we’re very lucky he sent him up to us,” Duckworth said.
“(Tougherthantherest is) a quality animal and hopefully we can get him through the grades.”