Two recent arrivals to Chris Waller’s stable made the ideal first impression for Sydney’s leading trainer by nailing a quickfire double at Rosehill.
Although Solo Mission and Tougherthantherest were sent out as $21 chances, they made a mockery of those odds and in one case a pessimistic outlook from Waller’s racing manager, Charlie Duckworth.
In the aftermath of English stayer Solo Mission’s narrow victory in the Schweppes Handicap (1500m), Duckworth confessed: “He’s made me look foolish.”
The four-year-old gelding joined Waller’s Melbourne operation in the spring and headed to Sydney without trialling.
It was his first race since a run over 2812m in Scotland in September and the shortest trip he had tackled in a 10-race career.
“We don’t know much about him than watching his Flemington jump-outs, we thought this would be too short and sharp,” Duckworth said.
“I know were were probably a little bit negative on how we thought he was going to run. We weren’t trying to mislead anyone, we’re just trying to give anyone an honest opinion.”
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Solo Mission denied Bastia ($7) by a short neck. All Too Huiying ($11) was a short half-head third.
Waller also benefited from Keith Dryden’s assessment of Tougherthantherest as the gelding made a successful start to life in Sydney.
The Canberra trainer sent the four-year-old to Waller in March after Tougherthantherest won the Listed National Sprint (1400m).
His smooth transition was illustrated by a resilient victory in the Rygate Racecourse Design Handicap (1350m) on Saturday on his new home track.
Tougherthantherest ($21) improved his record to six wins and five minor placings from 12 starts by holding off Special Missile ($3.40) by a short neck.
Serene Miss, the $2.60 favourite, was 1-1/4 lengths third.
“We often send Keith horses that aren’t up to city level and we’re very lucky he sent him up to us,” Duckworth said.
“(Tougherthantherest is) a quality animal and hopefully we can get him through the grades.”