Epsom hopes for Tulloch Lodge gelding

A win in the Rowley Mile could put Cross Talk on a path to bigger races.

Winter find Cross Talk will face an important career test when he extends to 1 m for the first time in the Listed Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury. 

Trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, the gelding has won three of his four starts this preparation, culminating in a breakthrough stakes success in the Winter Challenge (1500m) last start. 

While he has been up and going since May, his runs have been spaced and jockey Tim Clark believes the horse still has plenty more to offer. 

"He's going terrific. He has just continued to improve," Clark said. 

"He's shown he has got a bit of versatility as well, he's not just one-dimensional. 

"First-up he sat outside the leader, another day I rode him he sat back off them and then the other day he dominated from the front. 

"He gets into a lovely rhythm like many of Gai and Adrian's horses. He bowls along and breaks their hearts a little bit because he is still able to finish his races off, even if he does go at a good clip early." 

Cross Talk has drawn barrier nine of 11 for Thursday's provincial feature and dominates betting as a $1.80 favourite with the Chris Waller-trained duo of Oscar Zulu ($7) and Skyman ($8.50) the only other runners at single-figure odds. 

If the five-year-old can rise to his latest challenge, Clark believes he has the potential to develop into a lightweight chance for the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in October. 

"I'm sure if he continues to perform well that they've got the Epsom at the back of their minds," Clark said. 

"Although he's had four runs this prep, they've been spaced out. They've allowed him to get over his runs and he is coping with his racing a lot better now than he was early this prep and even last prep." 

Cross Talk is yet to miss a top-three finish in seven runs and was a convincing winner of his only start at Hawkesbury on debut last year. 


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