By Glenn Davis
The Chris Waller stable is hopeful it can quinella the Group 1 Doomben Cup for a third time in what looms as a battle of the old and young in Brisbane on Saturday.
Waller has five runners in the 2000-metre weight-for-age feature and rates four-year-old mare Youngstar, who drew barrier 11 and seven-year-old mare Shillelagh, gate two, as the stable’s two best chances.
Waller has won the Doomben Cup three times with Metal Bender (2010), Beaten Up (2013) and last year with Comin’ Through and is aiming to join Lee Freedman as the most successful trainer with four wins.
He quinelled the Doomben Cup twice with Comin’ Through who beat stablemate Egg Tart while Beaten Up downed Foreteller.
Youngstar will etch her name in Doomben Cup history as the first four-year-old mare to win the famous Queensland feature since it became weight-for-age in 1990.
If successful, Youngstar will also join Qualeta (1943) as the only four-year-old mares to win the Doomben Cup in the race’s 86-year history.
The only other mares to win the Doomben Cup were five-year-olds Streama (2014), Cinque Cento (2007) and Cooranga (1939).
The youngest female to win the Doomben Cup was three-year-old filly Dream in 1950.
While Youngstar is a $5 favourite in the Doomben Cup, dual Group 1 winner Shillelagh is an $11 chance to become the oldest mare to claim the Doomben Cup.
“Youngstar and Shillelagh are our best chances on a good track,” said Waller’s Gold Coast foreman, Paul Shailer.
“But our Hollindale Cup winner Life Less Ordinary and Mister Sea Wolf will come right into play on a wet track.”
Shailer was delighted with Youngstar’s effort to finish fifth in the Hollindale Cup at the Gold Coast on May 4.
“I thought her run was super after making up good ground late on a testing track,” he said.
“There was plenty of merit in her performance and she’s improved since and her work on Tuesday morning was very good.
“It’s her third run this campaign and she’ll be right at her peak.”
Shailer said it was difficult to split Youngstar and Shillelagh who hasn’t raced since her fifth to champion mare Winx in the Group 2 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 13.
“Shillelagh was very competitive against Winx but she was forced to miss the Hawkesbury Cup on a wet track so the four weeks between runs is a concern,” he said.
Racing Queensland webnews May 15