Sydney’s Chris Waller is not exactly taking a brisk course suggested by the name of his HK$25m, Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) runner, Comin’ Through (AUS), but there is an undeniable sense of a firm plan about his international ambitions.
Waller was at Sha Tin on Monday morning checking on the progress of the Fastnet Rock five-year-old gelding who is following in the footsteps of his half-brother Criterion (NZ) in racing at Sha Tin.
Group 1 Doomben Cup winner Comin’s Through was described by Waller as a ‘good horse who has lost a little bit of his form’, but while that is one aspect of him racing on Sunday, the other is that he is a forerunner for further international racing for Waller.
Comin’ Through is owned by Sir Owen Glenn through his Go Bloodstock banner and as Comin’ Through circulated on the All Weather track Waller explained the drive that Glenn has for racing on the world stage and taking Waller along in this instance.
“Sir Owen is an international man and he is proud to have the horse here for that reason. He is so proud of Criterion and he has fifty mares now and he really wants to be known internationally,” he said.
“That is why he has international stallions (in his bloodstock) like Frankel’s, Kingman’s, Deep Impact’s and he wants to get on the international stage with his horses.
“It is a good thing for Australia for one man to have fifty mares,” he said.
Comin' Through (AUS) takes it quietly on the All Weather on Monday, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Waller explained that Comin’ Through was in the middle of either being a weight-for-age horse or trying something different such as racing at Sha Tin.
That racing ambition of trying something different does not stop at Sha Tin.
Waller said that the Dubai World Cup Carnival over the coming weeks is next for Comin’ Through. It also avoids the current impasse between the Australian and Hong Kong authorities over the quarantine requirements to return to Australia from Hong Kong.
Waller nominated a team from his Rosehill stables for Dubai racing heading into the Dubai World Cup meeting in March and he said on Monday that two to three will actually make the trip along with Comin’ Through
“It is just a stepping stone, I guess, for further on,” he declared, opening up the options for international racing on a greater scale.
The question of multiple Group 1 winning three-year-old Redoute’s Choice colt The Autumn Sun racing in Hong Kong with Hong Kong ownership in the colt naturally came up.
“Obviously they would like us to consider it as long as it would not affect him in any way,” he said with no doubt plans for further afield at Royal Ascot also part of that consideration.
The unfailing polite Waller is not declaring he was barging through to tackle new heights in the post-Winx era, but the gate is certainly being opened with the usual deliberate, careful planning he is known for.
As for Comin’ Through Waller was precise in his assessment.
“He needs to bring his best Australian form to be competitive and if we go back to the Doncaster and Doomben Cup he will be fine,” said Waller.
“He won first up (this campaign) and he has just been a bit flat since. He has done all the work and I am not going to gallop him here, he is going to stay nice and fresh and he is already starting to bounce out of skin,” he said.
Comin’ Through was second to Happy Clapper in the 2018 Group 1 Doncaster Mile over 1600m at Randwick on April 7th. Sent to Brisbane he claimed the Group 1 Doomben Cup over 2000m on May 19th.
Spelled he won first up in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes over 1400m back at Randwick on September 1st and it seemed that the gelding was on the way for a successful spring. However, in four further races the best he could manage was a fifth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes over 1800m.
Waller is looking to the change of scenery and freshness to renew Comin’ Through’s enthusiasm for Sunday and towards Dubai.
Note – Criterion’s record at Sha Tin did not record a win, however, he was third to Designs On Rome (IRE) in the 2014 Hong Kong Cup, third to Blazing Speed (GB) in the 2015 QEII Cup and ninth to A Shin Hikari (JPN) in the 2015 Hong Kong Cup.