The Autumn Sun and Press Statement were already Group One winners when they claimed the Hobartville Stakes but this year Chris Waller will rely on two emerging talents.
The Elanora and Wheelhouse will bid to deliver Sydney’s leading trainer his third victory in the Group Two feature, which he last won with The Autumn Sun two years ago.
A dual stakes winner, The Elanora is the more seasoned of Waller’s pair while Wheelhouse, who was black-type placed as a two-year-old, is coming off a strong maiden win last start.
Their rivals include unbeaten New Zealander Aegon, two-time Group One winner King’s Legacy and last-start Eskimo Prince Stakes victor Peltzer in a race shaping as an intriguing mix of established players and budding stars.
“We seem to have the more proven and high profile three-year-olds that have done well through the spring and come back into the autumn, and then you also have a new wave of horses,” Waller said.
“I would classify my two as being in the new wave of horses and hopefully serious contenders through the autumn carnival.”
A grandson of brilliant mare Tuesday Joy, The Elanora has shown staying potential to win the Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle and Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) in Brisbane.
He was also placed at his only start on a heavy track, conditions that are expected at Rosehill on Saturday.
While The Elanora will improve as he is stepped up in journey, Waller hopes to see a competitive performance.
“Nash Rawiller will ride him and it is questionable whether the 1400 metres could be a bit short but it is a good stepping stone towards the Randwick Guineas, possibly the Rosehill Guineas, and even a Derby, depending on which path we take with him,” he said.
Wheelhouse is also proven in rain-affected ground and heads into the Hobartville second up after returning from a lengthy break to score a commanding Kensington track win.
He was stakes placed as a two-year-old when in the care of Brad Widdup and Waller has been impressed with what he has seen from the colt so far.
“He is a decent type of horse,” Waller said.
“He is well bred and I loved his maiden win.
“He has come through that well and obviously this is a big step up and he is another horse that is going to improve over a mile and even beyond.”
Both The Elanora and Wheelhouse have been nominated for all the classic autumn three-year-old races, including the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas and the Australian Derby.