After dominating last season Chris Waller is now looking forward to the spring of 2011 and the big feature events that come with it.
Like many the Melbourne Cup stands out like a shining light but unlike many he has two very good hopes.
Both Stand To Gain and Hawk Island are being targeted towards the first Tuesday in November after the pair showed a heap of talent earlier in the Autumn.
Stand To Gain won the Sydney Cup as a bit of a roughie, thrilling his owners and instantly creating spring time fantasies.
If he were to win the Melbourne Cup he’d become only the third horse after Carbine in 1890 and Makybe Diva in 2004 to win the Sydney / Melbourne Cup double.
That being said Waller knows conditions need to be perfect for him to show his best talent.
“Stand To Gain has a a great bunch of owners but we are all realistic – we know he can only win a Melbourne Cup on a wet track and if he improves on his Sydney Cup win,” Waller said.
For Hawk island meanwhile the fact he’s returning at all is a massive bonus after he fell as favourite on the home turn in the Sydney Cup.
Previous to that he had won the Wyong Cup, Parramatta Cup and the JRA Plate, all with big weights showing he’s a genuine two miler.
Waller says he’s recovered fully from his fall which also brought down Tinseltown.
“When he fell, he did hurt his back but that was nothing a bit of time and chiropractic manipulation couldn’t fix,” he said.
Both horses were back on track yesterday in a trial at Rosehill Gardens across a short 1030m trip.
They both came home last but that’s to be expected so early in their preps and across such a short distance.
Long term the Caulfield Cup could be the main lead in race with both horses names among the early nominations.
In terms of first up runs though Hawk island is likely to be back in action at Warwick Farm when he runs in the Warwick Stakes on August 20.
Stand To Gain will be a couple of weeks later on September third when he runs in the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick.
“Stand To Gain is not a weight-for-age horse by any means but the Chelmsford is a nice starting point for him,” Waller said.
“Hawk Island needs to a bit of ‘mileage’ so he will return in the Warwick Stakes. He will be third-up for the Hill Stakes and then we will pick a path to the Cups.”