By Glenn Davis
With the Brisbane winter carnival over, the interstate invaders have normally retreated across the border by now.
But it’s not the case this year with champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller maintaining his Brisbane presence via his Gold Coast satellite operation.
Waller has six runners engaged at Doomben on Saturday, including three in the Bottle-O Open Handicap (1640m).
Topweight Religify received a mammoth 63kgs and will be a definite starter with the two-kilogram claim for Gold Coast apprentice Jag Guthmann-Chester.
Waller’s Gold Coast stable foreman Paul Shailer confirmed stablemates Vasaal and Exoteric will lock horns with Religify while Tatcee will be aiming to maintain her unbeaten record in the QTIS Two-Year-Old Handicap (1350m).
Also representing the Waller stable will be Mornington in the Benchmark 80 Handicap (2040m) and Cedarwood in the Class Three Plate (1640m).
Waller’s decision to open his Gold Coast base last August has been hugely successful and the stable now has 35 horses in work.
His Queensland presence also has seen him move quickly to sixth on the Brisbane trainers’ premiership with 38 wins.
“Chris (Waller) is very happy with the Gold Coast operation as it’s exceeded all our expectations,” Shailer said.
Shailer believes Religify should have the edge over his stablemates in the Open Handicap after resuming in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich last month.
Although the seven-year-old finished in front of only one runner in the Eye Liner, Shailer believes there has been great improvement since.
“Religify is our best runner at Doomben and he’s coming off a first-up run in the Eye Liner,” Shailer said.
“He’s done really well since and he’ll appreciate getting back on a better track.
“He’s got a big weight but he’s the class runner in the race and they’ll find him hard to get past if he can cross them and lead.”
Shailer said Vassal had done all his work in Sydney for his Queensland return and won’t arrive at the Gold Coast until Friday.
“Vassal hasn’t raced since February and has done all his work in Sydney for this race,” he said.
“He’s working towards some of the Saturday staying races and I don’t really expect him or Exoteric to be a serious threat to Religify.”
Racing Queensland webnews July 5