He’s won four Cox Plates in a row and now trainer Chris Waller has been bitten by the Melbourne Cup bug after spending a handful of seconds on Tuesday believing he was going to win the race with eventual fourth-placegetter Finche.
“I got that feeling at the 300-metre mark when Finche was in front,” Waller said. “He hit the front early but he looked to be safely holding them, in my eyes anyway.
“That feeling that goes through your body is pretty special, I thought … Melbourne Cup.
“But that was soon taken from our grasp and he did very well to stay in the top four.
“A top-four finish and, based on what Hugh Bowman said at Geelong and what Zac Purton said today, he’s still six to 12 months away.
“He’s given us that taste for next year, and I think we’ll certainly be putting a lot of thought into how we get there, strategically.”
Waller had a similar feeling of anticipation with his four-year-old mare Youngstar, who was well placed to challenge when turning for home.
“She had a lovely run,” he said of the sixth-placed galloper. “She was in the right position I felt to capitalise on it.
“I was waiting for her to surge but instead of surging, I wouldn’t say she just ground away to the line, but she just went through the motions to the line.
“She ran very credibly. Top-six finish and I think she’s still six months at least away.”
Waller hinted that his grand stayer Who Shot Thebarman may have had his last run after the 10-year-old dropped out to finish 17th at his fourth start in the race.
The 2015 placegetter was backed from $41 to start at $31 but he was never in contention.
“He was fair,” Waller said. “He was a little bit below what we hoped. I thought he might have run top 10 and he was just outside of that.
“We’ll see how he got through it and do the proper vetting. We realise age and how well he’s done so he’s been a great old horse.
“Who knows? We’ll leave it up to the owners.”
Waller said his overriding emotion following the Melbourne Cup was that, despite the international domination of the top-three placings this year, the race would soon return to Australian connections.
“I’ve got a lot of good things to look forward to as has Australia. I reckon we’re a big chance to win next year Australia,” he said.
“I’m pretty happy. It’s an iconic race. The feeling to be amongst it.
“We’ll fight off the international raiders next year.” – Racing.com