This has been some season for Sydney’s all-conquering trainer Chris Waller – and it’s not over yet!
Waller has been inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, his mighty mare Winx has now won 25 races in succession and is the world’s top-rated horse, he has trained more than 300 winners and over $32 million prizemoney, and equaled the all-time record for most Sydney wins in a season.
Waller’s double with Chatelard and Black On Gold at Rosehill Gardens yesterday gave him 169 Sydney wins for the season, equaling the all-time record he set in 2015-16. He should set a new standard at Canterbury on Wednesday.
“We are very proud of it,’’ Waller said acknowledging his stable’s record-breaking season before paying tribute to the contribution owner Bob Ingham and his stable staff have made to his career.
“I learned the (stable) systems off Mr (Bob) Ingham. I still call him every Friday.
“We would have about 130 staff so it is a massive operation and you need great staff to get the horses to the races week in and week out.
“Our numbers in Sydney have stayed the same last four or five years but we now we have stables at Flemington and the Gold Coast.
“I know we do have a lot of horses but it is not all about Winx, it is not all about the Group 1-winning colts, I have more slow horses than anyone.’’
Waller also has more fast horses than anyone as reflected by his stable’s record-breaking season. Black On Gold is not one of the stable’s elite gallopers. Off-carnival racing is his forte as he proved when finishing powerfully to win the Kensei Handicap (2000m).
Sydney’s leading jockey, Brenton Avdulla go the best out of Black On Gold ($6) to score by a half length from stablemate Sayed ($9.50) with early leader Lovani ($10) three-quarters of a length away third.
“He takes a bit of riding, that’s just him,’’ Avdulla said. “But I’ve always had a bit of luck with this horse and if he gets conditions to suit, he is effective.
“He has always been at this sort of level but can lose his way a bit on deteriorating tracks.
“His run the other day was full of merit and I was confident that if the track was good enough for him today he would be hard to beat.’’
Waller and Avdulla both agree that Black On Gold’s best distance is around 2000m.
“I think he struggles over further,’’ said Waller, ruling out a Grafton Cup campaign for the winner. We learned in the Queensland Derby and other races he just can’t get there. This is his maximum trip. He is a good track horse but this is his level.’’
Earlier, Waller notched his 300th winner on all tracks for the season when Chatelard won the Winter Racing Handicap (1800m).
“It’s the first time I have had 300 winners in a season,’’ said Waller who has stables at Rosehill, Flemington and Gold Coast.
“When I started training I was hoping to get 1000 winners over my entire career so I have been very fortunate to have had such good opportunities and I am grateful for the support I get from my owners and stable staff.’’
Waller, whose previous best win-haul for a season was 281 winners set in 2015-16, has trained 2292 career winners in his 18-year career. In the national premiership, Waller trails only Victoria’s Darren Weir, who has prepared more than 420 winners this season.
Chatelard ($6.50) came from well back on the turn and made his run through the field near the inside rail to run down brave frontrunner Kurnel Jaxon ($5.50 favourite) to win by a short neck with Vaucluse Bay ($6.50) a similar margin away third.
Top jockey Tye Angland conceded he would have preferred to get to the outside coming to the turn but with horses on his outside, he had no option but to switch back towards the inside in the straight.
“I wouldn’t say it is that bad on the inside and I had to take what came my way,’’ Angland said. “He did a good job to get up and win, he was strong to the line and will be better again at 2000m.’’
Chatelard, raced by Denise Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds, improved his record to four wins from just 12 starts and taking his prizemoney to in excess of $200,000.
“His last preparation was a little disappointing because he showed us so much early in his career,’’ Waller said. “We didn’t do anything different with him this time, just backed off him last preparation and gave him a break. It is good to see him come back so well and it shows that sometimes they just don’t come up.
“But his first-up run was encouraging and he has improved again to win nicely today. He looks set for a good preparation.’’ – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph.