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Great Glen gives Chris Waller fourth straight win in Provincial Stayers at Hawkesbury

CHAMPION trainer Chris Waller has predicted a bright future for imported gallopers Great Glen and Mortar Platoon after they fought out the Provincial Stayers (2100m) at Hawkesbury.

It’s a race Waller has used to blood imports and promising stayers over the past five years and Saturday’s win was the trainer’s fourth straight success in the event.

Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal (2014) is the highest profile winner while Coup Acclaim (2013) and Hipparchus (2016) also went on to better things.

The race was not held in 2015.

“(The imports) have been the backbone to the stable as has this race, we’ve had some really good horses progress from it,’’ Waller said. “It is a race we picked out a couple of months ago for each horse and, as it has worked out, we have quinellaed the race.

“It won’t be the last you see of either of them.’’

Great Glen, left, held out stablemate Mortar Platoon to win the Provincial Stayers. Picture: Jenny Evans

The well supported Great Glen ($2.70 favourite) and Mortar Platoon ($6) singled out in the last 300m and only a short head separated the stablemates. Early leader Lookin’ At You ($3.50) was third.

The win continued the amazing run of success jockey Kerrin McEvoy has enjoyed this month, though he had to survive a protest from Tommy Berry to keep his 53rd city winner for the season. Stewards quickly threw out Berry’s objection.

Great Glen had his first two Australian starts in Melbourne and when asked particularly about the winner Waller talked up the lightly raced five-year-old.

“I think he will be winning Group races, he had some good form around him and he’s a pretty talented horse,’’ he said.

McEvoy echoed that sentiment and said while Mortar Platoon got alongside him in the final 200m he was never headed and showed plenty of fight. “He gave me a nice feel when he picked up and he is a horse with a bit of a future,’’ McEvoy said.

Chris Waller produced another talented import at Hawkesbury on Saturday. Picture: Jenny Evans

Vella hits the Highway

Ray Hickson

PROMISING three-year-old Wanna Get A What raced himself out of Racing NSW’s Highway concept and earned a shot at city grade with a gutsy win at Hawkesbury.

Trainer Gratz Vella set a long range plan to target the $60,000 TAB Highway Handicap (1100m) after the gelding scored second-up at home in Canberra and he delivered in strong style.

“He has a lot of ticker and there is a future for him, if he pulls up well we will go to Sydney with him,’’ Vella said. “I had a bit of confidence going into the race about him but the weight was a bit doubtful.’’

As it turned out the 59kg proved no issue for Wanna Get A What ($4.40) as he rode a solid speed and kicked in the straight, holding off the favourite Ruthless Agent ($3.30) by half a length with Major Sharpe ($16) a close third.

Vella almost foiled his own plan to tackle the Highway when he sent the gelding to a flying handicap at Wagga Wagga four weeks ago and he led until late before finishing second.

Gratz vella was delighted with Wanna Get A What’s win. Picture: Jenny Evans

Interestingly, Vella viewed that race as just a stepping stone and said between that performance and Saturday’s win, the gelding’s fourth from just eight starts, his opinion has grown sharply.

“Sometimes you have to put them into better races to get their fitness up and I thought we’d go to Wagga, and I thought he might not do well, and then we’d go to this Highway,’’ Vella said.

The curiously named galloper, whose mother is called Bettagetawriggleon, impressed jockey Tommy Berry with his tenacity over the last 200m after not getting everything his own way in front. Berry hatched a plan to prevent Wanna Get A What from over racing and predicted better things are in store.

“I watched his last few replays before the race and I said to Gratz he looks like he can go quite keen so I decided to just let him go,’’ he said. “He’ll be competitive wherever he goes next.’’