Alexander in Rosehill comeback
Expensive European import Alexander Of Hales makes his return to racing on Saturday after recovering from a broken hind leg.
His Chris Waller-trained stablemate Gigino is the likely favourite in the Benchmark 90 race over 1800 metres at Rosehill but Waller believes the seven-year-old can make his presence felt.
“He pulled up sore after his last start in March and that’s when we found the hairline fracture in his hind leg,” Waller said.
“He’s completely recovered now and has had three barrier trials to get him ready for 1800 metres first-up.
Starcraft’s owner Paul Makin was the major partner in the syndicate which bought Alexander Of Hales for a reported $1 million after he finished second, albeit beaten nine lengths, in the 2007 Irish Derby won by Soldier Of Fortune.
After a spring campaign with Danny O’Brien in Melbourne in 2008, Alexander Of Hales was sent north to Waller for a change of scenery.
Although he has won just one race in Australia for Waller, Alexander Of Hales has been thereabouts in plenty of others.
“He always runs consistently well,” Waller said.
“But he’s probably not going as well as Gigino at the moment.”
Gigino hasn’t raced for a month but has had a barrier trial during that time.
The five-year-old won three of his four starts prior to his short break with his most recent start a victory over subsequent Newcastle Cup winner Stratofortress.
Two weeks earlier Stratofortress beat Gigino after finishing third to him at their previous clash.
Waller said his other nominations for the race, Beijing Boy and Stand To Gain, would be saved for another day.
Hugh Bowman, who has elected to stay in Sydney this weekend after failing to secure a Caulfield Guineas ride, will be aboard Gigino while apprentice Kody Nestor rides Alexander Of Hales.
There were 16 entries for the Benchmark 90 with Alexander Of Hales topweight with 58.5kg while the Gai Waterhouse-trained Joku has 61.5kg in the Open Handicap over 1400 metres, four more than multiple Group One winner Mentality.