Waller torn between Derby or Mile
DERBY or Doncaster for D'Argento? It's a nice problem for trainer Chris Waller to ponder.
D'Argento gave Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman successive Group 1 wins when, 40 minutes after mighty mare Winx had won the George Ryder Stakes, the striking grey three-year-old stormed home wide out to win the $600,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Waller said he was unsure whether to aim D'Argento at the $2 million ATC Australian Derby (2400m) or $3m Doncaster Mile (1600m), both run at Royal Randwick on day one of The Championships, April 7.
When word filtered through to Waller that Bowman said he would recommend D'Argento run in the Derby, the trainer said: "Is that because Hughie won't be able to make the weight for the Doncaster? He is a pretty quick thinker, that Hugh Bowman.''
D'Argento does have only 49kg for the Doncaster, a race Waller has won six times in the past decade. However, the trainer has never won the ATC Australian Derby.
"I had serious doubts about him getting 2000m because I've seen the brilliance that he's got,'' Waller said. "You don't usually see such a brilliant sprinter-miler that I thought he was prior to the Randwick Guineas where he had no luck to come out and be so dominant in a Rosehill Guineas after being three-wide.
"I've got to reassess my thoughts now about D'Argento. Obviously he can stay and we'll work out from a colt's perspective where is his best value."
Waller even had a "win'' of sorts after the race when a protest by connections of fourth over the line Furore against runner-up Vin De Dance was upheld, elevating D'Argento's stablemate Tangled into second.
D'Argento ($3.80) won by a widening 1¼ lengths from Tangled ($81) with Furore ($12) taking third after Vin De Dance was relegated to fourth.
"I've had so much confidence in this horse for a long time,'' Bowman said. "I think I cost him in the Hobartville when I was a little negative from the barriers.''