Chris Waller has been winning premierships and preparing the best horse in the world for the past couple of years while rebuilding his stable at the top level.
The champion trainer admitted after Saturday’s races that he had the team to take him back to the dominant springs of 2014-15 and 2015-16, when he had eight and 10 group 1 winners, respectively, before Christmas.
Winx and her unbeaten run of 26 races over three-plus years has masked Waller’s struggles at the top level. The premier stable depended on the champion mare for group 1 success over a 12-month period between the autumns of 2016 and 2017, but she is no longer alone.
“We have been in a rebuilding phase for the past two years. I could see these horses coming through 12 months ago, which was pretty exciting,” Waller said after winning a Randwick treble, including Unforgotten taking out the Chelmsford Stakes and Comin’ Through triumphing in the Tramway.
But it was the performance of other his group 1 contenders that left Waller smiling.
“Egg Tart, Youngstar and the boys from the Tramway, the stayers [The Lord Mayor and Brimham Rocks] and Unforgotten, was pretty exciting and it is a good place to be,” he said.
“It is good in a way to have so many, because you don’t over-analysis things, you just train them. It seems to work out for the best that way.
“But you do go home and remember you train slow ones as well.”
The list of talent in the stable with group 1 ambitions is long and includes Fiesta, D’argento, Paret, Kaconic, Foxplay and even Tom Melbourne.
Waller will unveil his Golden Rose team using Performer, Zousain and Lean Mean Machine in the Run To The Rose, while stretching unbeaten JJ Atkins winner The Autumn Sun to 1500m in the Stan Fox Stakes on his return.
“I could have run him in the 1200m of the Run To The Rose but he would get a group 1 penalty in that race,’’ Waller said. “Although he has won at 1200m, I didn’t want to see him vulnerable at that trip; he is fit enough to go to 1500m.
“It is still the plan to run in the Golden Rose. I’d like to see him pretty dominant in the Stan Fox as he has to come back 100m for that race start.’’
The Autumn Sun finished his preparation in the Winx jump-out at Randwick on Saturday, but has also had the benefit of working on the new pro-ride track at Rosehill, which allows Waller to get his horses fit to resume at longer trips.
“We are getting a lot more positive comment from the riders. The old track you would have five to 10 per cent of your just hanging a bit and not stretching out,” Waller said. “So it is helping.
“We are getting them a lot fitter on the track without having to stress them racing. It is a big thing for us.
“You get a bit sick of racing stayer for two or three runs before they are fit and up to their trip. Every race something could go wrong and they have to have two gallops to get ready.
“We are able to take horses to longer trips and maximise them.” – Chris Roots, Sydney Morning Herald.