VICTORIA’S leading trainer Darren Weir has a stranglehold on the $150,000 Wangoom Handicap, with six runners in the feature sprint race of Warrnambool’s three-day carnival.
Five of the six – Mahuta, Royal Rapture, Ulmann, Stellar Collision and Telopea – are trained at Weir's Warrnambool satellite stable.
Noela’s Choice is from his Ballarat operation.
Weir's Warrnambool foreman Jarrod McLean said it was hard to split the runners from the powerful stable for the 1200-metre race.
“Three of our five runners are resuming,” McLean said.
“It's a bit difficult to get a real gauge because there all good horses. All our runners are well credentialled to run well.
“I've got a real soft spot for Stellar Collision. He's my favourite horse in the stable.
“He's in great order. I reckon he was unlucky in last year's Wangoom when he ran fifth.
“Telopea has good first-up form and is working well. It's so hard to split our runners.”
Last year's Wangoom winner, Yesterday’s Song, will try and emulate the deeds of Second Effort who won the race back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 when he runs for Flemington trainer Michael Moroney.
Royal Island, who ran second behind Yesterday's Song last year, resumes for Caulfield trainer John Salanitri.
Meanwhile, Crossley trainer Quinton Scott will be attempting to add another Wangoom victory to his training record when he saddles up Forgeress.
The seven-year-old mare, who is destined for the breeding barn later in the year, has the services of underrated jockey Craig Robertson.
“We decided to give Forgeress another campaign,” Scott said.
“It's her time of the year. She's a really good wet tracker. She’s trialled up well and has a good first up record.
“I've been really impressed with her work. I don't think she’s the roughest in the race.
“It appears that Darren Weir holds the key to the race.
“We’ll only give her a few runs before she goes to the stud.”
Scott’s previous winners in the Wangoom are Toroa in 1978 and Prince Of Brandy in 1984.