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Closing Bell to run in ATC Cup

Unlike most of the imported horses Chris Waller trains, Closing Bell has come from a different side of the Atlantic.

The former American horse has fitted in well but still has a way to go as he adapts to his Australian surroundings.

He is one of four Waller-trained runners likely to run in Saturday’s ATC Cup (2000m) with the other three – former Europeans Beyond Thankful, Dance Of Heroes and Index Linked – .all naturalised.

“Closing Bell hasn’t quite furnished into the Australian way yet. He needs racing to mould him,” Waller said.

“The others are the gentlemen of the turf and have been good horses for the stable.

Newgate Farm bought Closing Bell with a view to next year’s big races with his spring campaign designed to acclimatise the five-year-old.

The ATC Cup will be his third and most likely last run this time around with bigger targets in store.

He has already proved himself at the top level, running second to Highland Reel in the Secretariat Stakes last year.

There were 14 entries taken on Monday for the Listed race, a lead-up to the longer Christmas Cup (2400m) on December 17.

The ATC Cup nominations include the Darren Weir-trained Refulgent with Melbourne’s premier trainer also planning to bring Rageese to run in the Group Three Festival Stakes (1500m), a prelude to the Group Two Villiers Stakes.

Waller will have three runners in the Festival, Amovatio, Marenostro, and Religify, all out to cement their claims for the Villiers (1600m) which carries a ballot exemption to the Doncaster Mile.

Last year’s Festival Stakes winner, the Fred Cowell-trained Mighty Lucky, has been entered for the longer ATC Cup.

The other feature at the first summer meeting is the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) which received 14 entries headed by Big Money and Shiraz who will be having his first start for new trainer Kim Waugh.

Formerly trained by Tony McEvoy, Shiraz was Group One-placed in the Galaxy (1100m) in March when second to Griante.

He has had two barrier trials at Gosford this month, running second over 800m and winning over 1000m.

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