Toorak Handicap runner-up Night’s Watch features among a strong contingent for Chris Waller in the Cantala Stakes as the trainer bids to win the Group One handicap for a fourth time.
Waller’s representation in Saturday’s 1600m race at Flemington also includes Epsom Handicap placegetter Star Of The Seas and eight-year-old gelding Life Less Ordinary while six-year-old mare Noire is first emergency.
Noire is also an acceptor for Saturday’s Group One Empire Rose Stakes.
Night’s Watch gets his latest chance in a Group One and was the early $6.50 favourite on Wednesday, just ahead of Toorak winner Fierce Impact ($7).
Night’s Watch jumped slowly in the Toorak (`1600m) at Caulfield and was momentarily held up in the home straight before charging late.
“Back to Flemington I think you can see a few form reversals or a few of those hard luck stories turn into wins, and that’s what we’re hoping with Night’s Watch,” Waller said.
“He’s had a good preparation. We’ve decided to keep him nice and fresh and keep him at the mile and as you saw last start with a Group One second, he’s good enough to win these types of races.”
Waller first won the Cantala with Albert The Fat in 2011 and has also won with Boban (2013) and Shillelagh (2017).
Night’s Watch, to be ridden by Damien Oliver, has barrier nine in the field of 16 plus four emergencies but will come in two barriers if the reserves don’t gain starts.
Star Of The Seas, who has drawn barrier five, is on the third line of betting at $9.50 having finished behind stablemate Kolding and subsequent Cox Plate placegetter Te Akau Shark in the Group One Epsom (1600m) at Randwick earlier this month.
“Star Of The Seas ran third in the Epsom and has got a good profile,” Waller said.
Life Less Ordinary has drawn wide and drops back from 2000m after filling the minor placing in both the Hill Stakes and Craven Plate in his past two starts.
The James Cummings-trained Best Of Days won last year’s Cantala with 52kg but has equal topweight of 57kg this time around.
Last week’s Group Two Crystal Mile winner Chief Ironside is one of two northern hemisphere-trained runners in the race, with the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Royal Meeting the other.