Spring Champion Stakes Aim for High Mist

Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller has described one of his weekend runners High Mist as a nice type for an upcoming campaign targeting the Spring Champion Stakes.

Chris Waller

Chris Waller has big plans for his smart two-year-olds lining up in the first at Rosehill Racecourse this weekend in Sydney. Photo: Daniel Costello.

Waller has a stranglehold numbers-wise over the first at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday’s Civic Stakes Day program.

The champion horseman and leading Group 1 winning horseman for the season will saddle-up four of the eight acceptors in Rosehill Race 1, a two-years-old handicap run over 1400m.

Markets on the race at Ladbrokes.com.au rate his last start winner at the track Foxplay as the odds-on favourite, the nicely-bred Foxwedge filly having put three lengths on her closest rival over 1350m on June 18.

Waller is also represented in the day’s opener by fellow last-start winners Octavian Augustus ($4.80), Awoke ($7.50) and High Mist ($9) who dominate betting.

The longest-priced of the contingent, High Chaparral colt High Mist, saluted over 1150m at Newcastle last time out on debut and Waller has big things in mind for the up-and-comer next time in.

“High Mist is a big raw two-year-old that will get warmed up late,” Waller told the media this week.

“He’s switched right on since his Newcastle run.

“He’s a horse that will progress. We’ve got a few of young horses that will be Spring Champion and Derby horses next season and that’s the best way to describe him.

“You’ll see him in some nice races in the spring.”

The $500,000 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) runs at Royal Randwick on October 8 and Waller won the event last spring with Vanbrugh (2015).

He is also already looking ahead to next autumn’s Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) in April during ‘The Championships’ with High Mist.

As for Octavian Augustus, who also scored a maiden win last time out at Newcastle by an imposing margin, Waller believes to Husson colt is a genuine miler in the making.

“Octavian Augustus is a horse that’s got more than his fair share of natural ability. I also think he’s pretty adaptable,” he said.

“Before his first start he’d done just as much as any of our two-year-olds, we try to prepare them as best we can but they haven’t had pressure put on them. He jumped, he put himself under pressure, he coped with it and he won quite easily.

“Normally our horses would improve immensely off their first start so we’re pretty excited about him.

“I think he could develop into a very nice miler.”

Waller admits that for Saturday’s clash the bookies likely have the order of his runners right and that Foxplay is the one to beat.

“She’s the benchmark of our horses, the one they have to beat,” he said.

“It was an impressive win last start.

“I’ve opted not to claim, I’m going with the experience of Blake [Shinn] because it certainly helped with Hugh [Bowman] riding her last start.

“She’s trained on really well and 1400 metres is her forte.”

The last of his starters, Awoke, meanwhile jumps from barrier two with Brenton Avdulla aboard after Chad Lever guided the Rip Van Winkle filly to a narrow 1150m win at her first start at the June 11 Newcastle meet.

“She’s pretty raw. She trialled ok before her debut and she backed it up finishing off strongly to win,” Waller said.

“I wouldn’t say she’s quite as advanced as the other three.

“I want to give her another run, give her a bit more education and she’ll come back a nice three-year-old that will continue to improve.”

About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the horseracing.com.au team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.