by RAY THOMAS
MISTER Sea Wolf can enhance trainer Chris Waller's phenomenal record in feature Randwick mile races when he lines up in the feature Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) on Saturday.
Waller won his first major race over the Randwick 1600m course when Triple Honour won the 2008 Doncaster Mile.
The trainer has also since won Doncasters with Rangirangdoo (2010), Sacred Falls (2013-14), Kermadec (2015) and Winx (2016).
Sydney's premier trainer also prepared the winners of three Epsom Handicaps, three George Main Stakes and two Chipping Norton Stakes in the last decade.
Waller snared a Villiers in 2008 with Honor In War, who scored on protest over champion sprinter Takeover Target, but the race was run over 1400m due to the equine influenza outbreak.
Mister Sea Wolf had 23 starts in England and Ireland before being sent Down Under during spring to join the Waller stable.
At his Australian debut, he was just edged out by Testashadow in the Festival Stakes at Rosehill Gardens two weeks ago.
"He was at Werribee when he first came into quarantine and had a good grounding there,'' said Waller's stable representative Charlie Duckworth.
"Then he came to us in Sydney and went enormous first up in the Festival Stakes.
"It was exciting for us to see Mister Sea Wolf run so well because of most of our European horses, in their first preparations here, show us a fraction of what we get from them in later preparations.''
Duckworth pointed out that Mister Sea Wolf has had more race experience than the majority of imported gallopers that join the Waller stable and this is reflected in his race manners. "A lot of the European horses want to overdo things when they first race here because of the slower tempo mid-race in Australia but not this horse, he is just a professional," Duckworth said.
"He has trained on really well and Kerrin (McEvoy) galloped him on Tuesday morning and gave a glowing report. He is a tough horse who wants to try for you.''
Sydney's hot spell this week is likely to ensure a very firm Randwick track surface on Saturday but Duckworth dispelled any concerns that Mister Sea Wolf may not be suited.
"Mister Sea Wolf's form is superior on the softer surfaces but I don't think it will impact him too much,'' Duckworth said.
"We are confident he is in good shape but obviously Interlocuter is a very smart horse and they are trying to get him to the Doncaster.''
Interlocuter is an easing $3.30 favourite for the Villiers with Mister Sea Wolf pressing at $5.50.
Waller, who was at the Hong Kong International meeting last Sunday, is due back in Sydney, where his stable is well-represented with 13 entries in seven races including Vassal in the Listed Christmas Cup (2400m).
Vassal was a Rosehill 2400m winner two starts back and drops 6kg to the 53kg limit for Saturday's staying feature.
"The big weight drop is the key for Vassal,'' Duckworth said.
"He galloped nicely on Tuesday and is certainly a chance.''
The Waller stable is producing two of its emerging gallopers at the Randwick meeting with Calculated in the opener, the Bloodstock News Handicap (1100m) and Chatelard resuming in the Right2Drive Handicap (1600m).
"Calculated is going to find 1100m short of his best,'' Duckworth admitted. "But we need him to learn to switch off and do things properly in his races.
"We could try to get him to a 1400m race first-up and be very confident he would go out and win but because he does things wrong, we want to see him over a trip where he can switch off and find his rhythm.
"He has a big weight of 60.5kg but he has a lot of ability and if he wins this race, then we will be excited about him going forward.''
Chatelard has five of his stablemates in opposition when he resumes tomorrow, although Duckworth said High Mist will be withdrawn.
"I like Chatelard as a horse, he has a massive will to win, which is a great attribute,'' Duckworth said.
"He's drawn to get a soft run and I think he is more than capable of winning first-up.''
Chatelard chased home Zourkhan in a recent Warwick Farm barrier trial and the pair clash again tomorrow.
"Zourkhan was brilliant in that trial,'' Duckworth said.
"I remember straight after the trial that Tye (Angland) rang for the ride.
"We had Tye booked for the race but not particularly on Zourkhan.
"But then he said was there any way he could ride Zourkhan and we put him on.
"You want your jockeys going out there thinking they can win so we are happy to have Tye on the horse.''
Among the Waller stable's other Randwick entries is Japonisme in the Listed $125,000 Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m).
Japonisme hasn't won a race since April last year and Duckworth admitted that the stable is in two minds about whether to start him on Saturday or reserve him for a 1400m race next week.