Chris Waller’s star colt Press Statement blows rivals away in Hobartville Stakes
February 21, 2016
Champion trainer Chris Waller admitted he felt similar pressure to win first-up with Press Statement as he does with Winx — but for very different reasons.
Winx is the nation’s premier galloper and Waller understands she is expected to win every time she steps out, as she did in last week’s Apollo Stakes.
But with Press Statement, the colt is already a prized stallion prospect so any loss could impact on his value at stud.
Press Statement was making his comeback to racing in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday — and a nervous Waller didn’t need to worry as the three-year-old cruised to an emphatic win.
“As we said last week with Winx, it is not as easy as it might sound to have them ready first-up,’’ Waller said.
“Before the race I was worried have I got Press Statement right for the 1400m, he is a good horse but is he at the same level — you take a lot of responsibility on yourself and you do get worked up a bit. But the class horse helps the trainer.’’
Press Statement ($2) made winning look simple as he raced away to score by more than two lengths from a very game but outclassed Le Romain ($19) with the eye-catching Montaigne ($13) one-and-a-quarter lengths away third.
Waller was underselling his considerable skills when he downplayed his contribution to Press Statement’s emergence. “I don’t think the trainer makes Group 1 colts — but it is the trainer’s job not to bugger it up,’’ Waller said.
Waller has done a very good job of developing Press Statement who improved his race record to six wins (including two at Group 1 level) from eight starts and taking his prizemoney to over $1.5 million — with the promise of more to come through the autumn.
Press Statement, already a dual Group 1 winner, will be hot favourite to claim a third major in the $1 million Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) in two weeks.
“He is a colt with a very fluent action and he has come back a little stronger this time in,’’ Waller said. “He is about 10kg heavier than he was in the spring but it is not fat, so he has really strengthened up.
“The Randwick Guineas is the logical target, that race has always been firmly in our sights.’’
Press Statement capped a big day for owners China Horse Club, which also race Millie Fox Stakes winner First Seal. – Ray Thomas, The Sunday Telegraph