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Balavan set to strike first-up for Waller
Caryl Williamson
13:57 AEST Mon Dec 31 2012

Until a recent barrier trial, Chris Waller found it hard to assess new stable acquisition Balavan.

But the trainer was so pleased by what he saw he elected to withdraw the former Victorian sprinter from a benchmark race at Canterbury on Saturday to target the Listed Carrington Stakes (1100m).

Balavan ran third in his trial on December 14 and returns to the scene of his last win more than a year ago when he contests Tuesday's feature sprint at Rosehill.

"He is a nice horse and doesn't show much on the track in the mornings, but in his trial he did," Waller said.

"He had a lot of weight (61kg) on Saturday so I decided to keep him for the Carrington.

"It's a good race and won't be easy but he will take his chance."

The seven-year-old won his first five starts in the care of Tony Vasil at Caulfield and his most recent victory was over 1200m at Rosehill in August 2011.

Two starts earlier he won a Class Six at the Sunshine Coast in which subsequent Group One winner Solzhenitsyn finished fourth.

"He races well this way round and that's why he's here," Waller said.

Injury has restricted Balavan's career to 15 starts of which he has won seven.

There are eight acceptors for the Carrington including unbeaten bush sprinter Maroney Avenue.

Maroney Avenue has won all his six starts and his Scone-based trainer Rodney Northam's decision to test him in stakes company is based on a lack of suitable restricted races in the coming weeks.

His cause will be helped by champion jockey Robert Thompson who has been aboard throughout his career.

The gelding is a half-brother to Occurrence, a multiple city winner under Bart Cummings and Group One-placed in the 2008 Queen Of The Turf won by Forensics.

Three-year-old filly No Looking Back resumes in the Carrington with her trainer Gai Waterhouse eyeing a start in the Magic Millions Guineas if she performs well.

No Looking back was first past the post in the Magic Millions Classic but lost the race on protest to stablemate Driefontein.

She was the $2.80 Carrington favourite with the TAB on Monday ahead of Maroney Avenue at $3.60 while Balavan was a $15 chance.


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