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The nature of Chris Waller’s training method allows him to take Good Project, Vanbrugh and Mackintosh fresh and ready to add another group 1 or two to the stable’s tally to close the year in Perth.
While the preparation wasn’t structured to target the Ascot group 1s, the carnival was always available for them if the trio were racing well.
“We are taking a good hand over there. Good Project is back to defend the Railway Stakes he won last year and the two races stack up well for Vanbrugh and Mackintosh,” Waller said.
“The Kingston Town [Stakes over 1800m] is probably a better option for Vanbrugh, while I think Mackintosh will be competitive in both races.”
Waller has booked Hugh Bowman to ride Good Project, with Ben Melham on Vanbrugh and Damien Oliver on Mackintosh for the group 1 mile at Ascot on Saturday. The trio arrive early in their preparation considering they raced at group 1 level at their last starts at Flemington.
Mackintosh and Good Project both had excuses as they finished fifth and seventh respectively in the Cantala Stakes at Flemington and will have the fourth run of their preparation in Perth.
Good Project looks to be in similar form to when he was too good for the West Australians last year. He has overcome a splint-bone injury he suffered in the Doncaster this year and is building into his preparation.
“That is why he was a bit later coming back,” Waller said. “The plan was to be at his top third-up for the Cantala [Stakes] and this is the obvious step after it. He is still pretty fresh and not tired at all.”
Good Project never really got a clear run in the mile at Flemington and Waller believes he can complete the Railway double
“He was beaten by Malaguerra last year, this time he was beaten by bad luck before going over there,” Waller said.
“Zac Purton rode in the Cantala and said he should have finished at least third but he just got held up on the inside.”
While Good Project couldn’t find a run in the Cantala, Mackintosh did all the work sitting three-wide without cover and carting winner Le Romain into the group 1. He was game to hold on and ran fifth.
His three runs this preparation have all been outstanding: he resumed by winning the Theo Marks Stakes before being third in the blanket finish to the Epsom and the fifth at Flemington.
“I think he is the perfect horse for both the races over there,” Waller said. “He was outstanding doing a lot of work in the Epsom and was tough last time.
“I spoke to Hughie [Bowman] after the Cantala and he just said: ‘That’s racing, I got on Mackintosh’s back and you gave me the run of the race’.
“He was just exposed a long run out but he has come through it very well and while he is going well it is the right time to have another go at a group 1.”
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