Sydney trainer Chris Waller is expecting a solid showing from his New Zealand-bred stayer Patrick Erin in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday where he faces champion stablemate Winx.
The seven-year-old gelding finished fourth when first-up against Winx in the Group 2 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick earlier this month and Waller was pleased with his run.
“His first-up run was excellent and he has improved in terms of his fitness since then,” Waller said.
“He showed first-up when over 1400m that he can hold a position through having some good barrier speed, so whilst I wouldn’t expect him to lead, he won’t be too far away.”
The Group One-winning son of Gallant Guru is on a path towards the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in April, which will include a number of black-type assignments.
“He is tracking nicely towards a Sydney Cup and he will be going via the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) third-up and fourth-up into the BMW (G1, 2400m) and then the Grand Final for the preparation will be the Sydney Cup,” Waller said.
He will also line-up New Zealand Bloodstock Sales graduate Unforgotten in the Chipping Norton and believes she will improve off her fifth-placed run in The Apollo.
“She just got left a little flat footed through there being no pressure in the race first-up, so if that is the case on Saturday we would get rolling a little earlier on her to ensure that she is put into the race and she will certainly improve in terms of fitness,” Waller said.
“I think Unforgotten should be starting to improve second-up and up to the mile and not just be a walkover, obviously we have got a lot of respect for Happy Clapper as well.”
Meanwhile, earlier in the card Waller will line-up New Zealand-bred gallopers Melt and Zalatte in the Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m).
Melt finished sixth last start in the Gr.2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) and Waller believes she has taken a lot of improvement from that race.
“She has taken improvement from her first-up run but she is another one that has drawn wide (barrier 14),” Waller said.
“She wanted to do things upside down first-up, so hopefully we can just get her to switch off and get her to come back and relax. Providing that is the case she will finish off well.”
Waller is excited about undefeated filly Zalatte’s potential heading into Saturday.
“I am very excited by this horse, she follows a similar profile to Unforgotten through winning off season three-year-old races and now she is racing against the better horses and is obviously first up,” Waller said.
“I wouldn’t expect her to win against these sharper three-year-old fillies, but I would expect her to show that she is going to be competitive in races going forward over a bit further.
“From her good draw (barrier four) she is going to at least get a nice run and hopefully runs close to the first three. She will then progress through to the Vinery Stakes (G1, 2000m) third-up.”