Waller’s double shot at $25m clean sweep
CHRIS Waller can't separate Arcadia Queen and Kolding as the champion trainer attempts a clean sweep of Sydney's three richest races in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Waller prepared the winner of the world's richest turf race, the $14 million The Everest with Yes Yes Yes last month and earlier this year his mighty mare Winx retired with her 33rd successive win in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Ladbrokes price assessors have Arcadia Queen as the $3.10 favourite ahead of Kolding at $5 for the Golden Eagle but Waller maintains the stablemates should not be that far apart in betting.
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"I can't separate them, from where I sit they are equal,'' Waller said at Rosehill trackwork on Thursday. "To my eye Kolding is a very good horse, he looks great and she does as well.''
Waller described Arcadia Queen "as a sensation and has the ratings to back that up''.
"I think she is getting out to a more suitable distance, 1500m will be perfect, we won't have to ride her too close but we won't be giving away our good barrier draw,'' he said.
"While she jumped and held her position (in The Everest last start) she couldn't sustain that sprint over 1200m when they ran track record time.
"Kolding won a Group 1 race (Epsom Handicap) last start, that was his second time over the mile and 1500m is probably key for him as well. His Epsom win wasn't a one off, he's a very serious horse who continues to improve and I think he deserves respect.''
The Golden Eagle barrier draw has been kind to Waller with Kolding to start from four and Arcadia Queen right next to him in gate five.
Waller isn't about to burden his jockeys Glen Boss (Kolding) and James McDonald (Arcadia Queen) with riding instructions.
"I'm starting to come back to letting a horse be natural (from the barriers),'' he said.
"If you try and do something different it takes them out of their comfort zone.
"A good barrier is not only important for yourself but if you maintain that draw it puts you in the spot where everyone else wants to be so they have to work harder to find their position.
"Utilising the gate without having a horse out of its comfort zone is key. It's a genuine Group 1 race and you have a good mixture of horses from around Australia.''
Queen can reverse last-start fail
Arcadia Queen is poised to produce a stunning form reversal and win the Golden Eagle.
Form guru Gary Crispe maintains "it always helps to be forgiving in racing" and he's happy to put a line through Arcadia Queen's last-start failure in The Everest.
The Chris Waller-trained Arcadia Queen was outsprinted when Yes Yes Yes scorched turf to win The Everest in a Randwick 1200m track record of 1m 7.32s.
"Arcadia Queen simply didn't fire and only ran 11th in The Everest but she appears much better suited out to 1500m for the Golden Eagle,'' Crispe said.
"She has a peak Timeform racing of 121, which makes her the highest-rated runner in the field after factoring in the mares' allowance.
"If she is run up to that level, she is the one to beat.''
Crispe expects Arcadia Queen to be ridden more conservatively from her favourable draw (five). "The Golden Eagle has always been the main target and while she faces some stiff opposition, it will take a very good horse to beat her,'' he said.
Waller could prepare the Golden Eagle quinella because the trainer will also saddle up Epsom Handicap winner Kolding.
"The form around Kolding has worked out very well and he has clearly turned the corner since being gelded, winning six of his seven starts,'' Crispe said.
"He has a peak Timeform rating of 118 and although he has to make a sizeable jump to beat Arcadia Queen, current evidence points to him running a new peak in the Golden Rose.
"I love him being kept fresh (28 days between runs) and he looked very strong in a recent trial under Glen Boss.''
Crispe said nothing separated classy duo Brutal and Classique Legend on their best form.
"They are both rated 124 at their peak,'' Crispe said.
"Classique Legend is on trial at the trip but gives the impression he will handle it and has drawn to get a much kinder run in transit this time around. Kerrin McEvoy is back aboard and with a touch more luck, he is sure to make his presence felt.
"Brutal was very good fresh, before being a touch flat last start in the Sydney Stakes.
"The race shape didn't suit him there and he is sure to appreciate the step up in trip.
"This has always been his grand final and while drawn out, he should press forward and be in this for a long way.''
Crispe rated English galloper Beat Le Bon as the pick of the three international raiders in the Golden Eagle.