Waller holds guns in George Main Shoot Out
The Group 1 George Main Stakes was first run in 1945, four years after the legendary T.J. Smith was granted a trainer's licence and he would go on to make this lead-up to the Epsom Handicap his own, winning the weight-for-age race over the Randwick mile on 11 occasions, including back-to-back victories with the mighty Kingston Town in 1981 and 1982.
Continuing the tradition, Smith's daughter Gai Waterhouse, has also tasted success in the George Main three times, but is devoid of runners in this years' event.
Enter the man, who broke both TJ and Gai's Sydney training record in the season just ended…one Chris Waller.
The expatriate Kiwi will saddle up 4 of the 9 runners in Saturday's renewal of the George Main, including the defending champion, Shoot Out, who has an excellent 2nd up record.
Winner of the Chipping Norton Stakes in the autumn, his Sydney spring target is the Epsom where he will have to set a modern weight-carrying record to win and he is one of 4 runners currently quoted at $7 with tab.com.au Fixed Odds to win the George Main.
Watch the action from Royal Randwick LIVE on Sky Racing this Saturday with Race 1 set to jump at 12:45pm (AEST) and the Goerge Main at 3:15pm.
Shoot Out's stablemates and rivals on Saturday include Hawkspur, whose closing sectionals were outstanding when winning the Chelmsford Stakes a fortnight ago, and on that performance (as well as a dominant Winter carnival) he has been installed as a $2.70 favourite to give champion jockey Jim Cassidy his 100th Group 1 winner.
Sacred Falls ($9) won this year's Doncaster on a heavy track and resumed with a fast-finishing 4th in the Tramway while ATC Oaks victor Royal Descent, for whom the stable has huge hopes in the Caulfield Cup, was placed in the Toy Show and Tramway at her two runs back from a 4 month spell.
This classy daughter of Redoute's Choice has the services of Nash Rawiller and, at $7 with tab.com.au Fixed Odds is my selection to win. Back her on Saturday and continue to follow her throughout her Spring campaign as she could prove to be an outstanding galloper.
The race is brimming with no less than 7 Group 1 winners including Guy Walter's consistent Streama ($7), who like Royal Descent, will be aiming to become just the second female horse to win the George Main in 27 years. She has the blinkers off for the first time and will renew rivalries with Kiwi veteran Veyron ($13), who pipped her in the Warwick Stakes.
Talented Victorian horse Fawkner ($13) who will wear a lugging bit and race plates for the first time, has a lethal strike rate and is another with a strong 2nd up record, while 2011 winner Sincero ($17), has won 3 from 6 at his second run back from a spell. A stone bruise prevented him from defending the Memsie Stakes earlier in the month.
That leaves the sole 3 year old, Dissident ($7) for Peter Moody. Tim Clark has been granted permission to ride the son of Sebring half a kilo over, but the colt still tumbles 5.5kg's on his brilliant 2nd in the Golden Rose where he was trapped wide for most of the journey.
My tips are Royal Descent to beat Hawkspur, Fawkner and Streama.
The winner of the George Main will etch their name on an honour roll which consists of champions including Kingston Town, Lonhro, Vo Rogue, More Joyous, Emancipation and Baguette, and if you can't be at Royal Randwick, you can watch all the action on SKY Racing.
G1 - The Bet365 Celebration Steeple Chase (class 1)
G3 - The Bet365 Gold Cup Steeple Chase (handicap) (class 1)
G1 - Aes Champion 4yo Hdle
Grade B - Setanta Sport H'cap Hdle
Grade B - Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe H'cap Chase