Waller has his sights set on Selino’s Brisbane Cup defence

Finding suitable races for a dour stayer at this time of year is a challenge for even Australia’s most accomplished horsemen, just ask Chris Waller.

Waller has his sights set on Selino defending his Brisbane Cup crown but says working out how to get him there has required a bit of novel thinking.

The horse hasn’t won over a distance less than 2815 metres, and races over those journeys are few and far between in Australia.

So rather than waste a run, Waller opted to keep the gelding fresh following his solid fifth to Circle Of Fire in the Sydney Cup (3200m) on April 13 and instead maintain his fitness and interest with an exhibition gallop at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

“He is a genuine two-miler and it’s really hard with those horses,” Waller said.

“They’re not competitive in prep races to the point where they almost get made to trial, so we gave him the workout (at Warwick Farm) over 1400 metres.

“He will run in the 2400-metre race next week and then the Brisbane Cup, which he won last year.”

Selino finished sixth in the 2023 Sydney Cup (3200m) then contested the Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) on his way to capturing the Brisbane Cup (3200m) 12 months ago.

Waller has opted to deviate from that path this time around and use Saturday’s Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2400m) as the gelding’s final lead-up to the Brisbane Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm two weeks later.

In his eyes, the eight-year-old is going at least as well as he was 12 months ago.

“Possibly better,” Waller said.

“He just went off and was very light last year, but he’s put on a bit of weight and he seems to be going well.

“His run in the Sydney Cup was good.”

Waller is set to have a strong hand at Eagle Farm on Saturday with Rough Habit Plate winner Tannhauser a $4 second favourite for the Queensland Derby (2400m), while Espiona is on the third line of betting for the Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) as an $8 chance.

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