Each winner Chris Waller has for the remainder the season in Sydney will set a new record after another winning double at Rosehill on Saturday but, as Chatelard and Black On Gold took him to equal with his personal best of 169 Sydney winners for a season, his thoughts were for his workers.
Waller entered the Australian Racing Hall of Fame this year and had the horse of a lifetime in Winx, but he remains a man who is proud of operation he has built from one horse.
He now has stables in three states and more than 130 full-time staff.
“We’ve got a great team of staff that gets these horses to the races week in and week out and that’s something I think we should be rewarded for,” Waller said.
“It’s not all about the group 1-winning colts. It’s about you’re bread-and-butter horses.
“I’ve got more slow horses than anyone in my stable, and I’ve got a lot of bread-and-butter horses that create a lot of fun and they earn good money and give their owners something to cheer for.
“This time of year is just as important as carnival time, and the same amount of work that goes into getting these horses ready and every win is something special.
“We have good systems in place and it works well and allows us to have success, but you must remember we have more horse than everyone else in Sydney as well.”
Waller broke through the 300-win mark for the first time when Chatelard won.
Chatelard ($6.50) drove through the inside to beat leader Kurnel Jaxon ($5.50 fav) with stablemate Vaucluse Bay ($6.50) third. Chatelard is another example of Waller learning with his horses.
“He was a little disappointing last time in, but we have changed a few things and he is showing the talent we thought he had,” Waller said. “He is going to step up in ground and could get to 2000m.”
It was another victory for Star Thoroughbreds, which was became a regular fixture in the winner’s circle.
“Denise [Martin] does a great job with her owners, and her horses are really starting to hit their straps,” Waller said. “It is horses like this that give people an introduction to racing.”
A race later, Waller equalled his record best season in Sydney of 169 wins when Black On Gold ground out victory in the Kensei Handicap, which offer an exemption from the ballot for next month’s Grafton Cup. There are 13 meetings left in the season for him to set a new mark.
It was a smart ride from premiership leading jockey Brenton Avdulla, who allowed Black On Gold ($6) to settle and then roll into the race from the top of the straight to win by a half-length from stablemate Sayed ($9.50) with Lovani ($10), which made the speed, three-quarters of a length back in third.
“I wouldn’t think Black On Gold would be going to Grafton because 2000m is just about his maximum distance,” Waller said. “We have put him over further in the past and he hasn’t been able to get the trip.
“We targeted this time of year with him and he likes a good track, and as the track dried out the chances got a bit better.
“I would think a horse like Sayed would probably be the type of horse we would take to Grafton.”
Meanwhile, Glyn Schofield gave his rival jockeys a lesson in tempo control as Flow returned a winner for Godolphin.
Flow ($4 eq fav)worked across to lead over 1400m and then Schofield got away with three 12-second plus 200m sections before sprinting clear in the straight and having enough in hand to win.
He had Waller duo of Invinzabeel ($5) and New Universe ($4 eq fav) chasing hard but held a half-neck margin on the post.
“It was a tough effort,” James Cummings’ assistant trainer Darren Beadman said. “When he got to the front he was able to switch off and get a cheap sectional and kicked nicely and held them off.
“Those white bridles [Chris Waller horses], we’re normally trying to chase them down.
“It’s not easy to win these benchmark 95s. If we can just harness that enthusiasm he has in the early stages, he could go to the next level.” – Chris Roots, Sydney Morning Herald.