By Ray Hickson
If there is an orthodox preparation for The TAB Everest after just two editions then trainer Chris Waller has ignored the textbook with his bold move to debut Perth mare Enticing Star in the Group 2 $400,000 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
It could say something about the view Waller has formed of the six-year-old that he’s confident she can come back to the 1200m of the Everest in three weeks, with the blinkers back on, and be a force.
Of course Enticing Star, a winner of eight of her 10 starts, was selected for the Chris Waller Racing slot so the champion trainer has put a bit on the line with his strategy.
“It was the most suitable race I could find for her at this stage,’’ Waller said.
“She’s working well and has been ready to go for a while, we’ve just sat on her and held her back and it looks a nice starting point for her.
“Being a set weights and penalties race she will get in very well and I have been happy with what she is showing us.’’
Enticing Star comes to Sydney with a very different reputation and racing style to her stablemate Arcadia Queen, who was brilliant winning the Group 2 Theo Marks two weeks ago, and Waller has had it in mind to keep them apart.
She’s known as a backmarker, somewhat one-dimensional, but a mare with a savage turn of foot so drawing six in the seven horse field probably suits her.
That all should be kept in mind as she was $2.90 favourite for the Golden Pendant on Wednesday, while she’s a $15 chance in TAB’s Everest market.
Waller said he hasn’t done anything particular to change Enticing Star’s nature and is confident she’s had the groundwork and experience, through her two Sydney trial wins, to produce her best.
“We’ve just been pretty straightforward with our training of her and prepared her exactly the same as we’ve trained Arcadia Queen,’’ he said.
“They did a lot of work with them over (in Perth), Grant and Alana Williams (her former trainers) do a fantastic job with their horses and Bob Peters’ farm has great systems in place and good staff there.
“The farm sent these horses over in good condition, tractable and ticking all the boxes.’’
In her only two defeats Enticing Star has had genuine excuses – she was heavily in season going into the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m), won by Gatting, and pulled up with significant mucous after being run down by Voodoo Lad in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
It’s a decent coup by Waller to attract Perth’s biggest owner and breeder Bob Peters to race his best mares in Sydney, having also sent Arcadia Queen and Celebrity Dream east.
Enticing Star wins a trial at Canterbury on September 2
“It’s a privilege, as it is with many of our owners, we are lucky enough to be training for some of the biggest owners around the world,’’ Waller said.
“I’d classify Mr Peters as being in that category, like it was on Saturday with training for Juddmonte (with Finche), Coolmore and all our main owners. It’s a good place to be in.’’
Interestingly, Waller is yet to win the Golden Pendant but in Enticing Star and Group 1 winning stablemate Invincibella has two strong chances in the seven horse field.
Invincibella, on the third line of TAB betting at $4.60, hasn’t raced since her Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara win in the winter but Waller said she’s had a solid build up.
“The 1400m is no problems with her, she’s had a couple of trials and has worked well since those trials so she will certainly run well,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Waller said a decision will be made shortly as to whether Arcadia Queen contests the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday week or he sticks with the more likely option of saving her until the TAB Everest two weeks later.
Arcadia Queen is $7 in the Everest and is also the $3 favourite to win the inaugural $7.5m The Golden Eagle (1500m) on November 2.