Cellarman’s ambitious tilt at the Run To The Rose will give trainer Chris Waller a guide on where the colt sits in the stable’s three-year-old pecking order.
Cellarman and Nikitas represent the trainer in Saturday’s Group Two race over 1200 metres at Rosehill.
Waller says the race will give him a guide whether they are genuine Group One contenders.
“We’re being a little bit ambitious in starting Cellarman in Saturday’s race but he’s a worthy contender of being in the Golden Rose if he could run in the first three,” Waller said.
“Saturday will tell me a lot from there we can go right to the top or if we’ll veer off to the left and target lesser races.”
He said the three-year-old was improving, but form around horses stepping up from two to three varied.
“Some improve, some stay the same and some go backwards,” Waller said.
“We’ve got to make sure that he’s one of the ones that goes forward.”
Waller was impressed by Cellarman’s most recent barrier trial but is wary of reading too much into it ahead of Saturday.
“Everything trialled well in that race, even Sir John Hawkwood who is a stayer,” he said.
Nikitas will be having his first start for Waller after being transferred from Queensland trainer Kelso Wood.
The horse ran second behind a dominant Capitalist in the Magic Millions Classic before being placed in the Group Two BRC Sires’ Produce at Doomben in May.
“He showed a glimpse of his ability in the winter and hopefully now he’s turned three he’s matured a bit and is ready to carry on from that Magic Millions form,” Waller said.
Woodside Park have bought into Nikitas and are keen to raise his stud value with a Group One win, but Waller has no definitive target.
“Saturday will tell me so much in terms of distance mainly whether we stick to the sprinting distances,” Waller said.
Both horses are $51 in the Run To The Rose market led by $3.60 favourite Star Turn.