Waller wants a Christmas Wynn

The Christmas Cup at Rosehill will be a pivotal point in Bellagio Wynn’s career with trainer Chris Waller using the 2400-metre race to determine whether his future lies as a stayer.

Chris Waller Bellagio Wynn was successful over 2100 metres in July 2007 and his last win was over 2000 metres in June this year on a heavy track at Randwick.

Waller planned Bellagio Wynn’s early spring campaign around trying to get him into the Epsom Handicap (1600m).

That failed to materialise and in his past three starts he has run second over 1600 metres, third over 2000 metres before finishing unplaced in the Canberra Cup (2000m).

"We are trying to do something different because he has been short of his best this campaign," Waller said.

"We were looking at the Epsom but then we backed off and freshened him up again.

"I’m not sure whether he is a bit more dour now or a bit older and wiser so we will try him over the 2400 and see if he can stay.

"If not we will back off and start again.

"We know he has plenty of ability."

Bellagio Wynn was one of 21 entries for Saturday’s Listed feature which was one of the casualties of the 2007 equine influenza outbreak.

There were 13 youngsters nominated for the two-year-old race on the program including the Waller-trained Stryker, a $600,000 yearling owned by the Ingham family.

Waller is not sure if the colt will run or be saved until the week later.

If he does start he will be the first of the horses Waller trains for Bob Ingham’s new operation to race in the famous all cerise colours.

A $600,000 Easter yearling, Stryker is by Group One-winning sprinter Fastnet Rock out of Woodman mare Laetitia who won three races from 1600 metres to 1900 metres.

Stryker has had two eye-catching barrier trials for a win and a close second.

Waller has also taken over the training of expensive colt El Cairo from Newcastle’s Paul Perry.

A $2 million Easter purchase in 2007, El Cairo has one victory from six starts and has been entered for the 1200m Rating 75 Handicap.

By Caryl Williamson