Waller favouring G2 Run To The Rose for Militarize

Dual Group 1 winner Militarize is set to make his seasonal return in The Run To The Rose with trainer Chris Waller increasingly lukewarm on pitting him against the older horses in the Theo Marks Stakes.

The colt is an acceptor for both races and while he was originally an emergency for the latter, the early scratching of Wild Planet has cleared a path for him to run.

However, Waller wasn’t thrilled with his 55kg handicap or barrier 11 in the Theo Mark Stakes (1300m) and confirmed he was now favouring The Run To The Rose (1200m) as the most suitable first-up target.

Under the set weights and penalties conditions of the three-year-old feature, Militarize will carry topweight of 58.5kg and has drawn barrier seven in the field of 12.

“I think we’ll run him in the three-year-old race, which wasn’t my original plan,” Waller said.

“It’s a smaller field and he’s not in that well in at the weights in the Theo Marks against the older horses, not as well as I thought he might have been.

“I wouldn’t be expecting him to win over 1200, but I think it’s a good stepping-stone towards the Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas, which I think is his race.”

Militarize was one of five Waller runners paid up for the Theo Marks, but the champion trainer said that squad would likely reduce to three.

Along with Militarize, fellow dual acceptor Zougotcha is also expected to bypass the Group 2 with Waller favouring keeping her to fillies and mares’ grade in the Sheraco Stakes (1200m).

“I think we’re leaning towards the Sheraco now, just because I’ve put the blinkers on hoping that will give us enough speed from the perfect barrier, which is gate four,” Waller said.

“It’s a field of eight, her own sex, whereas the Theo Marks we’ve got a few other chances as well and she’s drawn a little bit wider (eight).”

Waller’s Queensland Derby winner Kovalica is an early $4.80 Boombet.com.au favourite for the Theo Marks Stakes and will be joined in the race by stablemates Madame Pommery ($8) and Waterford ($12).

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