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Life of a Thoroughbred

Experience behind the scenes of life as a thoroughbred with Chris Waller Racing.

It’s a journey of hearts and hooves.

When it comes to the thoroughbred racehorse, many people and processes are involved in the life journey. In the modern era where most Australians grow up distant from large animals, misinformation can spread around how these magnificent beasts are managed and treated.

We want to invite you in to life as a thoroughbred with Chris Waller Racing to grow a smarter, more informed community and better understanding of life as a thoroughbred racehorse.

The morning begins at

3am

The feed bin is checked
for leftover dinner
and temperatures of each horse are taken

Horses are fed breakfast

The first group go on the walker

When warm, they’re saddled up
and head out to the racetrack

T r a c k s

There are a variety of track surfaces that are available for trackwork use - including

SAND

TURF

POLYTRACK

DIRT

Watch Chris Waller talk about different training surfaces

Other training tools

Other training tools

Aqua
walker

Like any athlete, recovery post exercise is vitally important for preventing minor inflammation, injuries and achieving optimum performance. At Chris Waller Racing we employ our very own salt water treadmill which is cooled to 6 degrees celsius. It is natural cold water therapy and replicates wading in the sea water. The horses enjoy time on the aqua walker which is relaxing and is used post-gallop, post-race and the afternoons at the stables.

Other training tools

Pool
swim

A low impact form of exercise that can compliment a training regime.

Other training tools

Ocean
swim

Training horses in Australia gives us the wonderful tool of ocean swimming, it’s a great way for the horses and humans to unwind and relax their muscles.

Other training tools

Physiotherapy

Equine physiotherapy is a scientific evidence based profession that involves detailed assessment of the horse. Analysis of movement dysfunction, muscle weakness, instability and the horse’s range of motion are all key focus areas. By targeting these areas, the physiotherapists goal is to play a small yet significant role in performance, recovery and horse welfare.

 

A Picture of health

After morning trackwork and exercise, every horse is inspected by Chris Waller and the senior team. Each horse is photographed and weighed so a clear health record of each individual is tracked.
Listen to Chris Waller as he runs through horse health & wellbeing

What you put in, you get back out.

At Chris Waller Racing, we take horse diet very seriously. Our horse feed is careful programmed and measured according to each specific horse’s training regime, nutritional requirements and eating preferences.

We monitor eating habits closely, as even a slight loss of appetite can be a major clue into horse health.

Chris Waller takes us through the feeding program for the stable
 

G r o o m i n g

Horses are groomed on a daily basis, which not only ensures they are assessed in close detail and beautifully presented, but grooming also develops the bond between the horse and the handlers. It is important the horses have a strong trusting relationship with those humans who handle them.

 

T r o t - u p s

Horses are trotted up several times a week which allows the team to assess the fluidity and soundness of their movement. Any horse that reveals a slight issue will be assessed thoroughly by our veterinarian.

 

T r e a t m e n t s

Every day our veterinarian visits the stable to check horses with any slight issues or treat those that require it. Having a consistent vet work with our team ensures he learns about each specific individual and keep a close eye out for any signs of health inconsistencies.

 

F a r r i e r

The feet are one of the most important parts of the horse’s anatomy. Therefore, at Chris Waller Racing we have a full-time farrier that manages our horses feet daily, ensuring that they are in the best condition possible.

G r o o m i n g

T r o t - u p s

T r e a t m e n t s

F a r r i e r

Horses are groomed on a daily basis, which not only ensures they are assessed in close detail and beautifully presented, but grooming also develops the bond between the horse and the handlers. It is important the horses have a strong trusting relationship with those humans who handle them.

Horses are trotted up several times a week which allows the team to assess the fluidity and soundness of their movement. Any horse that reveals a slight issue will be assessed thoroughly by our veterinarian.

Every day our veterinarian visits the stable to check horses with any slight issues or treat those that require it. Having a consistent vet work with our team ensures he learns about each specific individual and keep a close eye out for any signs of health inconsistencies.

The feet are one of the most important parts of the horse’s anatomy. Therefore, at Chris Waller Racing we have a full-time farrier that manages our horses feet daily, ensuring that they are in the best condition possible.

Daily Horse Walk Around

Follow Chris Waller as he conducts his daily walk around
Follow Chris Waller as he conducts his daily walk around

Daily Horse Walk Around

THE FIRST YEAR

Yearling selection

THE FIRST YEAR

Yearling selection

There are two primary strategies utilised to select and acquire yearlings with Chris Waller Racing – through a bloodstock agent or through a syndicator.

Our team works closely with well-known bloodstock agent Guy Mulcaster who has a proven record of success that includes Group 1 winners Winx, Amicus, Preferment and Foreteller, to name a few. Active at all major sales domestically and internationally, Guy’s keen eye and broad knowledge allows him to purchase the best thoroughbreds to be trained by Chris.

Alternatively leading Australian syndicator Star Thoroughbreds and their team work together with Chris to find future stars who are exclusively trained by Chris. With over 20 years of experience, the Star Thoroughbred team has cemented it’s reputation with star gallopers including Sebring, Foxplay, D’Argento and Invincibella.

Breaking & pre-training

Breaking & pre-training

A very important stage for young horses is the breaking in and pre-training process. This is the first time the horse will have a rider on its back. A calm and confident breaker will ensure this is a positive experience for the young horse.

 
Barrier education

Barrier education

A crucial step in the education process is teaching young horses to enter and leave the starting barriers. As horses have a natural aversion to being in tight spaces, is imperative the young horse feels confident when entering and leaving the barriers.

This education is taken slowly, with the horse first walked through with a lead pony, then guided by the rider. The next stage is to ask the horse to stand, as an attendant closes the back gate and the horse is trotted out. Once the horse is comfortable the front gate will also be closed. The final stage is to teach the horse to rush out when the gates open.

 
STABLE VISITS

STABLE VISITS

After the breaking in and pre-training period, the young horse will begin to visit Chris Waller Racing to experience life in the big city!

This is a big step for a young horse, as they will be presented with sights and sounds never before encountered. The first several visits to the track will be taken very quietly with the horse walking and trotting with a lead pony or peers.

After several weeks, as the confidence of the young horse grows, more pressure will be applied. This will build up to gallops and jump outs, before they are entered into their first official barrier trial.

 

Barrier trials

Barrier trials

In NSW, a horse is required to partake in a barrier trial before competing in a race. Horse trials are mock races, typically run over short distances between 800m – 1200m. They are a valuable tool to teach horses racing manners and to relax in a competitive environment. Trials are also used as a tool to bring horses up to racing fitness. The first trials for two-year-olds are held in September each year.

Training Systems

Chris Waller talks through training programs and gallop times
Chris Waller discusses...

Training Systems

By The Numbers

By The Numbers

In a week, CWR

horses will use around

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In a week, CWR

horses will use around

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In a week, CWR

horses will use around

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In a week, CWR

horses will use around

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Thoroughbred Biometrics

ALL HEART

An adult horse’s heart weighs approximately one per cent of its total bodyweight, but can vary. Melbourne Cup winner Phar Lap’s heart weighed 6.4kgs, whilst that of Triple Crown winner Secretariat weighed 8.2 kgs.

The heartrate of a racehorse can exceed 200 beats per minute.

THE SUPREME ATHLETE

When Winx accelerated, it appeared her stride went into fast forward – and that’s literally what was happening! While most horses struggle to maintain 12 footfalls every five seconds, Winx could sustain a sprint with 14 footfalls.

Horses can maintain top pace for 400m, but can gallop at 60kms an hour for approximately 2500m
A horse can reach top speed in 3-5 seconds
A horse can gallop at 75kms per hour at full pace
Winx was able to take 170 strides per minute. That’s 30 more than the average racehorse, with each around seven metres in length

Thoroughbred Welfare

The first thing I think of when it comes to our horses, is their welfare
and that they come home safely each night.

They are very good to us, and it is our duty to be very good to them.

It is only through good systems, and good management a horse’s wellbeing and longevity can be achieved.

As an industry, it is important that we work together to create greater awareness of these systems to educate generations to come.

It is with this knowledge, that horse racing will be socially accepted
and continue to be a respected industry.

Click to view our retired racehorses
McCreery 2020

Delectation’sRETIREMENT STORY

Raced by Mr Lai, who is a big supporter of the stable, Delectation took out the 2015 Group 1 Darley Classic at Flemington when beating one Australia’s top sprinters Chatauqua. Delectation had a few quirks early on in his career and a decision was made to geld him, to enable the stable to get the best out of him and because of that, he was not given a stud career and instead Team Thoroughbred NSW retrained him and has found him a nice home.

Harry Green proudly tells anyone who will listen he has ridden a Group 1 winner. He’s not an elite jockey though. In fact he is only 13 years old. The Group 1 winner he is referring to is his riding instructor Sue Small’s Thoroughbred, Delectation.

“Harry just loves Delectation,” Sue said. “His pony is only 11hh so for him to be riding this 16.2hh Thoroughbred shows what a great temperament Delectation has. All the kids love riding him because it gives them such a confidence boost.”

Delectation retired from racing in late 2017 with a record of five wins, seven places and more than $1.6million in prizemoney. He entered Racing NSW’s retraining and rehoming program, Team Thoroughbred NSW, where he was prepared for life off the track.

Delectation’s first major assignment was as a therapy horse in Team Thoroughbred NSW’s Spur program, run in partnership with RSL Lifecare. Veterans and first responders with PTSD learned horse care, retraining and riding as part of their recovery. He was then offered for rehoming and was lucky to be adopted by Sue.

Since then, Sue’s students who don’t have a horse of their own have been learning to ride on Delectation. He loves trail rides, beach gallops and has participated in some low-level showjumping competitions. He also has a special role as a guest teacher at Taree Christian College with year 9 and 10 agriculture students practicing their horse care and handling skills on him.

“All the kids want to work with Delectation, not just because he is a Group 1 winner but also because he was trained by Chris Waller,” Sue said.

To read more about the work of Team Thoroughbred NSW, head to www.teamthoroughbred.com.au

Japonisme’sRETIREMENT STORY

Bred and raced by the Ingham family, Japonisme carried the famous cerise colours to victory in the time-honoured Coolmore Stud Stakes down the Flemington straight as a three year old, giving the Ingham’s their first Group 1 win with the Waller stable. Foaled at Coolmore Stud, once retired, a decision was made by the Ingham family for this lovely horse to live out his days at the farm he was born and help to educate the youngsters coming through.

Japonisme was born and raised at Coolmore prior to putting together some outstanding performances on the racetrack during his race career, Japonisme now enjoys a slightly more subdued lifestyle on the same farm that he was born.

Not one to lounge around, Japonisme fills his days of retirement as a lead-horse in the pre-training barn for six months of the year. Beginning after Magic Millions January Yearling Sale each year, he leads the yearlings out on the training track – no doubt imparting wisdom on how to win Group Ones!

Japonisme takes his second career as seriously as the first; keeping the yearlings in check if they are getting boisterous. The pre-training process at Coolmore incorporates a variety of hacking in paddocks, trackwork and barrier practice, all of which Japonisme leads – he is the perfect horse for this role and we would be lost without him.

With a large personality, and a heart of gold, the staff at the pre-training barn love Japonisme. During weekends, he is often found hacking around the farm and for the remaining six months of the year he enjoys retirement in a paddock of geldings and the odd weekend hack with one of the staff members.

McCreery’sRETIREMENT STORY

Originally purchased from the Tattersall’s In Training Sale in Europe, McCreery was a very good horse to the stable winning six races including the Group 3 Kingston Town stakes, and amassed over $700,000 in prizemoney. He was only small in stature but had a huge heart and was a lovely natured horse.

McCreery came to me at the start of the year and had a spell for a couple of months before starting his Re-training in March. Since then, he’s proven himself to be a sweet and willing student with a quick brain and a lot of natural talent.

McCreery will do Eventing with me, and though we are yet to compete due to COVID, he has been to numerous venues, clinics and lessons in XC, SJ and dressage. He recently attended a XC clinic at Wallaby Hill and stood happily by the float before walking calmly down to the XC area and impressively tackled the water, banks and ditches with not a single spook, shy, refusal or run out.

McCreery is regularly hacked on the roads, and in the National Parks (on his own and in company) and handles bikes, children, trucks/cars, prams, wildlife and livestock with very little fuss. His natural curiosity and our bond built in trust means you can take him pretty well anywhere now!

McCreery is in a paddock with my 2yo filly and they’re besotted with each other. I often see him allowing her to share his dinner (though he’d be very embarrassed if he knew what a big softie he is).

I’ll take another ten of him please!!!

– Jen Lynch, Government Worker
20 years owning, training and competing horses

To see more of McCreery’s progress on Instagram go to @JBangLynch

Tom Melbourne’sRETIREMENT STORY

Well known for running second, Tom Melbourne had a huge following throughout Australia during his racing days. He joined our stable a little later in his career and whilst only winning one race in our stable, he gave the owners a number of thrills including running close seconds in two Group 1’s, and a number of Group 2 and 3 races.

Tom Melbourne joined us at Living Legends at Woodlands Historic Park in April 2020. He was such a welcome addition to the team and was a real smoocher from day one.

Tommy enjoyed a good long break before starting in our Legends Under Saddle team. Legends Under Saddle is a great riding program that allows our retired legends to stay fit and active in their retirement.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions we haven’t yet had the chance to really show him off but he’s proven to be incredibly popular both with visitors to the farm and our friends that follow along on our social media channels.

We expect great things from Tommy, and he may even join Barry (Who Shot Thebarman) over the jumps in the not too distant future!

Who Shot Thebarman’sRETIREMENT STORY

Brought by the owners sight unseen for only $8,000, this ‘warhorse’ ran in four Melbourne Cups, and five Sydney Cups, winning the Sydney Cup as a nine year old. He was the winner of two Group 1 races and over $4million. He was well named, after the O’Leary brothers’ late aunt who used the saying ‘who shot the barman’, when her glass was empty and she was ready for another drink. A real stable favourite and a testament to the stable having him retire at the age of ten, as a sound and happy horse.

Who Shot Thebarman or ‘Barry’, has become a fast favourite at Living Legends. Living Legends was established to bring retired champion racehorses back to the public. Based at Woodlands Homestead in Woodlands Historic Park.

When Barry arrived at Woodlands Historic Park, it was straight to ‘work’ with a Christmas photo shoot and a meet and greet with a busload of tour visitors.

As a healthy and happy horse, Barry has adjusted to farm life well and is now part of our riding program, Legends Under Saddle, which involves exercise on the horse walker and/or round yard and being ridden through the park with his best mate Serife. And while he’s definitely no dressage horse (dancing is not his forte) he is showing talent in show jumping and participated in a number of jumping events last year.

Delectation
Japonisme
McCreery
Tom Melbourne
Who Shot Thebarman