Only Saturdays Winx extravaganza at Royal Randwick, one of the great days of the Australian turf, overshadowed Chris Wallers achievement of 101 group 1 winners.
Of course Waller, with jockey Hugh Bowman, were major contributors to the Winx phenomenon and the mighty mare went out with style, fuelled more by power than grace in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes to bring to an end her record-breaking splurge.
Consider, though, the meteoric rise of Waller, with Verry Elleegant in the Australian Oaks indicating she could help him reach another milestone, the Melbourne Cup.
In Verry Elleegants triumph, there was a dash of Ethereal, also a New Zealander. Ethereal notched the Big One before champion Makybe Diva won three.
Sure, Darren Weir had Verry Elleegant when she first arrived in Australia but under the Waller system her soft mouth, making comfortable control difficult, is responding to James McDonald.
Around five seasons ago when Waller was flying high, I asked him when he would win a Melbourne Cup. Despite having runners and promising stayers, he replied it would take quite a few seasons yet. Obviously, he was working on the type required and the method to get them primed for the first Tuesday in November at Flemington.
Certainly the Sydney Cup has been well within his range, with Shraaoh giving him four, but more is required to win the Melbourne Cup and only two Australian Oaks winners have completed the double as four-year-olds: Light Fingers (1965) and Evening Peal (1956). Ethereal went via the Queensland Oaks.
But modern mares have become stronger and more competitive, points that Waller develops.
Back in 2005 John “Shiner” Schell, a colleague at the time, introduced me to Waller, then an unknown New Zealander, in the Rosehill press room.
The only aspect that resonated was his courtesy, which he has maintained on his journey from the torrid years to the top, where he has stayed.
Earlier he had arrived at Randwick as a strapper, a Kiwi without a feather to fly, racing jargon for not having the price of a feed, at the stable of trainer Pat Webster, who sensed his plight and made sure he didnt go hungry, getting the best and a still-remembered meal from the renowned family chef “Fighting Harada”.
Its awesome that Waller has come so far so fast up the group 1 ladder.
Its awesome that Waller has come so far so fast up the group 1 ladder. The achievements are not in the Winx stratosphere, but she has left racing while the trainer remainRead More – Source