Article courtesy of SMH.com.au

CHRIS WALLER entered exalted company yesterday when first-starter Velrosso won the opening race at Rosehill to give the trainer his 100th metropolitan winner for the season.

The 37-year-old, who kicked off in Sydney just over a decade ago with just two horses, is the first New Zealander to achieve the feat..

The honour list of trainers to have prepared 100 winners in a Sydney racing season is headed by Tommy Smith, who did it on 20 occasions. Others to have achieved the feat are Smith’s daughter, Gai Waterhouse, John Hawkes and Brian Mayfield-Smith, who ended Smith’s 33-year reign as premier trainer in the 1985-86 season when training 99 winners.

Not content with one winner, Waller hooked up with champion jockey Damien Oliver to also win with The Verminator and Little Surfer Girl, which steamed home in the last race.

“Another dream,” Waller said. “We’ve been enjoying a run of fairytales. They are great trainers, were great trainers. I wouldn’t put myself in their company yet, I’ve got a long way to go.”

Waller’s Rosehill stable now has 100 horses, with 20 in pre-training and ready to instantly fill a vacant box.

Waller had no doubt that achieving the milestone was only a matter of time, although it did come as “a relief” and once again there were people to thank.

“We’ve got a good team behind us, as I always say,” Waller said. “They will take something out of this as well.”

A humble Waller believes “it is a privilege to be training in Sydney”, and having joined the “100 club” was “something I’ll look back on and get more value out of”.

“What has kept us going the last couple of seasons is we know there is improvement and we will make those improvements,” he said.

Velrosso was sent out $2.35 favourite and despite being tardy out of the gates knuckled down to score from Able Fast, another first starter.

“He showed us a lot in his very first gallop back in August,” Waller said. Subsequent X-rays on the colt’s knees revealed Velrosso needed time to develop.

“He does have a lot of ability and he’ll go for a short break. I’d like to have a crack at a big race in the spring with him.”

In the sixth race, Oliver’s rivals opened the door by rolling to the centre of the track, with the Grafton Cup-bound The Verminator charging up the inside to score.