Chris Waller targets Queensland Derby with improving stayer Yangtze Rapids after Canterbury win

Trainer Chris Waller was keen to put a Group 1 Queensland Derby raid in his cross hairs when improving three-year-old Yangtze Rapids broke through in style at Canterbury on Wednesday.

Yangtze Rapids ($1.95 fav) proved a cut above his rivals to score by a comfortable 2¾ lengths in the Sky Racing Active Maiden Handicap (1550m).

“We think he is a nice stayer and we will step him up in distance and hopefully get another good track next start,” Waller said.

“We have the Queensland Derby in mind for him.

“It would have been nice to get the maiden a bit sooner, but he will go on with it and the further he goes the better he will get.”

Favourite backers cheer as Yangtze Rapids salutes in the opener for @mcacajamez and @cwallerracing at Canterbury.

The Queensland Derby wasn’t run in 2020 after Racing Queensland elected to stage a reduced Winter Carnival at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a race Waller has previously only won once before with Hawkspur in 2013, however he hopes Yangtze Rapids can add to that record when the race returns on Saturday, June 5 at Eagle Farm.

A dry track and change of tactics proved the key to unlocking the promising gelding on Wednesday as he beat stablemates Quiet Michael ($7.50) and Kahuka ($4).

“He really enjoyed himself out there obviously in an unfamiliar role of leading,” jockey James McDonald said.

“He bowled along really well and he has a nice cruising speed so it was nice to see him use it today.

“I think he was comfortable and in a rhythm and these horses on the tight turning tracks when they are back in the ruck, they can find it hard to navigate there way through smoothly.

“When they are out in front they can get all their legs in the right places and accelerate.”

James McDonald won aboard Yangtze Rapids at Canterbury. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Yangtze Rapids had been in single digits in betting at his previous seven starts before finally chalking up his maiden success.

It helped complete a memorable few days for Waller-trained progeny by Frankel following the win of star filly Hungry Heart in the Group 1 Australian Oaks at Randwick on Day 2 of The Championships.

The impressive filly had snapped up the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes at the start before that.

Waller trained three of the first four winners at Canterbury on Wednesday.

Originally published asWaller stayer’s Rapid rise to Queensland Derby

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