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Chris Waller Discusses Cup Runners
Champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller has the last word on his three runners in today's Melbourne Cup.
Who Shot Thebarman (Yamanin Vital-Ears Carol, by Carolingian):
Who Shot Thebarman, whom Waller describes as a "genuine two-miler", is a winner of the 2014 Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) and was third in last year's Melbourne Cup. He is coming off a solid performance when 7th in the Caulfield Cup. "I'm very happy with him. He's on a par with where he was at last year, if not a bit bigger and stronger," Waller told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "I can't fault him, and history seems to repeat itself in terms of the placegetters [in the Melbourne Cup]. I feel the horse is still in his peak years...I would consider him being in that zone still." He added: "He certainly hasn't gone backwards and he's great value to run a place at least."
Grand Marshal (Dansili-Margarula, by Doyoun):
Waller says the English import, who won the Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in April, has been set for the Melbourne Cup. Grand Marshal was last seen finishing 11th (beaten 6 lengths) in the Caulfield Cup, but his run was much better than it looked as he was held up for clear running for much of the straight and should have finished closer. "Well, he's been set for three races in the last year," Waller began. "The first one was on Cup day last year [the Visit Victoria Plate, 2800m] which he won. The second was the Sydney Cup [Gr1, 3200m] and he managed to pull that off, and now he's been set for the Melbourne Cup." He added: "I can't fault his form. We realise he's no superstar but his last start run in the Caulfield Cup [11th] deserves respect."
Preferment (Zabeel-Better Alternative, by Flying Spur):
Preferment, last year's Victoria Derby winner and Waller's best chance in the $6 million Melbourne Cup, is coming off a disappointing 12th in the Cox Plate but was previously an impressive winner of the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. "His win over 2500m in the Derby suggests he should get two miles, and his win in the Turnbull over 2000m suggests he's in good form this prep and that he's sharp enough to win a Melbourne Cup," said Waller. "Throw in the fact he's by Zabeel, he's just turned four, so there's some upside there...hopefully he has that X factor to win a Melbourne Cup."
Verdict: "I do like Preferment, but only because I think he can improve. With the other two, what you see is what you get.," he said.