Le Juge to benefit from class drop
A big drop in class can help Le Juge return to the form that made him among the most prolific winners in Australia last season.
Le Juge meets an average field of open company gallopers in the Roku Gin Handicap (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The Chris Waller-trained gelding won seven races between December 2018 and May 2019, including the Group Three Chairman's Handicap at Doomben.
However, he has run only one place since then and finished in the first four only once in eight starts since the placing.
Waller's Queensland manager Paul Shailer said Le Juge faced a massive class drop on Saturday, which made up for the gelding having top weight of 59.5kg.
"He has been around in some very good races in the past few months," Shailer said.
"Not too many of these would even think about running in an Epsom."
"He handles Eagle Farm and 1600 metres also suits so he has a few things in his favour."
Waller has sent handy galloper New Universe north to contest the Open.
"He has had two recent runs in Sydney and this also looks a nice race for him," Shailer said.
Waller hopes to continue his recent success with the Star Thoroughbreds syndicate when promising colt Grenado makes a belated debut.
Waller has a good opinion of Grenado, who is by former racetrack superstar Pierro out of 2010 Magic Millions Classic winner Military Rose.
The colt has won two trials, including a Gold Coast heat on Tuesday when he won by 5-1/2 lengths.
A $250,000 yearling, Waller had hopes Grenado could write his own Magic Millions Classic history by winning this year's race.
However, he was not ready for the Classic and will make his debut a week later in the Two Year Old (1000m).
Shailer said Grenado had shown good ability in trials and in track work.
"He is a really nice horse but we had a couple of minor hiccups with him, which put us behind in getting him to qualify for the Millions," Shailer said.