The free-running Norway will bring form around the best horses in the world when he makes his Australian debut for Chris Waller in Saturday’s Randwick City Stakes.
The former Ballydoyle four-year-old sat on the speed in last year's English Derby and Irish Derby, where he held on for third, and was the pacemaker in the epic King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last July.
The son of Gallileo led until the top of the straight when Enable and Crystal Ocean swept past, along with Arc de Triomphe winner Waldgeist. Norway finished more than 17 lengths behind them, but it was a vote of confidence that the Coolmore team thought enough of him to have him in the biggest race of the English summer.
Norway, far right, can be seen tailed off in the dark blue Coolmore colours after setting the pace in the King George V won by Enable (pink cap).Credit:Getty
Since then, a majority share in Norway has been purchased by Yulong Investments, which have joined the Coolmore team in the ownership. Norway is a last-start group 3 winner in Ireland and has favourable form references through Constantinople and Melbourne Cup placegetter Il Paradiso.
“He is a nice horse. I think he is a run away from really hitting his straps, but he has settled in really well,” Waller said.
“Aidan [O'Brien’s] horses are pretty forward. They are well trained, as he doesn’t take short cuts.
“I just want to see him run a competitive race on Saturday and I'm hopeful the track won’t be too wet.”
Norway is a $34 chance from gate 14 on Saturday and Waller said he was likely to use his free-running style in a race where the stable is well represented.
Waller also has a $3 favourite Shared Ambition, which lost his unbeaten tag in Australia first-up at Warwick Farm, but he didn't lose any admirers.
Shared Ambition gets out to 2000m, where he will be more comfortable, and has the benefit of a barrier trial since his third to Gaulois on February 12.
“Shared Ambition was good first-up and we just gave him an extra couple of weeks to recover from it,” Waller said. “We also have Youngstar, which has improved out of the same race, while Wu Gok needs it wet but he has been a bit disappointing.”
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