On face value the Royal Ascot ambitions for Wandjina hit a stumbling block at the Randwick trials on Friday morning, but jockey Damien Oliver isn’t concerned.
The Group I winning Gai Waterhouse-trained colt made hard work of his 1050-metre barrier trial, scrubbed along by Oliver to chase stablemate Nayeli, but made little progress, finishing a safely held second.
Chris Waller’s three-year-old Delectation, a last start Group II winner, cruised-up behind the leaders to finish fourth and if you were betting off the trial, he’d be the one.
But Oliver, who rode Wandjina when nosed out by Dissident in the Group I All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 18, sounded confident when speaking to Sky Sports Radio after the trial.
“I trialled him leading up to the All Aged Stakes and he trialled similar,” Oliver said. “So I’m glad I had that sit on him there to compare it with today.
“He’s a horse that really saves himself for raceday. I’m really happy with his condition, his fitness is good and he’s ticking over nicely.”
Wandjina is due to trial again on May 22 before flying out to the UK on June 3.
The Royal Ascot target is the Group I Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) on Saturday June 20.