Ad Riff Rocket ridden by James McDonald wins the Penfolds Victoria Derby at Flemington Racecourse (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

Riff Rocket returns to Flemington for Autumn campaign

16 February 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

The C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington on Saturday will be the starting point for three of Chris Waller’s three-year-olds on a path to the Australian Guineas.

Victoria Derby winner Riff Rocket will lead a team of three horses into a Stakes race at Flemington that their trainer Chris Waller hopes will lead to a bigger prize. 

Riff Rocket, Tannhauser and Cap Ferrat run in the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday as a prelude to the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same venue two weeks later. 

Waller said Saturday's race was a lovely starting point for all three as they kick off their autumn campaigns. 

"It's a lovely starting point for all three of these horses, I was going to say colts, but he (Riff Rocket) is the only gelding, for the Australian Guineas in two weeks' time," Waller said. 

"It's not about winning on Saturday but building steadily throughout the prep." 

Riff Rocket has raced at Flemington three times, for two wins. 

He was a green and immature galloper when unplaced at his second race start but returned last spring to claim the Listed Super Impose Stakes (1800m) on his way to Derby success. 

"The Rocket, he loves Flemington. He does carry a big penalty for being a Group 1 winner, so I guess that brings him back to the field a little bit," Waller said. 

Waller holds a healthy opinion of Tannhauser who is returning to racing after disappointing in two spring runs. 

Tannhauser has not raced since beating only two home in the Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Randwick last October. 

"I like this horse a lot. Things didn't go right for him in the spring when he got an infection, so you can put a line through the whole spring. 

"He's a good colt. He will probably be better when he gets to 2000 metres, maybe for a race like the Rosehill Guineas later on." 

Maiden galloper Cap Ferrat rounds out the trio, but Waller does not expect the colt to be a maiden for too much longer. 

Cap Ferrat has been placed at Stakes level on multiple occasions and will be having his first start on Saturday since running in the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last October. 

"He's still a maiden but is Group 1 placed," Waller said. 

"He ran second in the Spring Champion Stakes last start, and he's come back well." 

Join us in celebrating the legacy of the great Black Caviar whose stellar career consisted of 25 undefeated races. Some of the world’s fastest horses will be lining up in the $1,000,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m), named in the legendary mare’s honour.

The Flemington Fareground makes an exciting return, transformed into an ultimate resort style experience, entrance is free with your race day ticket. Find out more