Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller capped a memorable 2012-22 season by snaring a record 12th Bart Cummings Medal at the NSW Racing’s Night of Champions awards at Royal Randwick on Thursday night.
Waller was challenged by premier jockey James McDonald for a major part of the season but the trainer ended with 95 points to secure the coveted title.
James McDonald (75 points), who was also last year’s runner-up, came in second with Hugh Bowman finishing third on 54 points.
“Chris Waller and his dedicated team continue to set new benchmarks not just in NSW racing but on the world stage, as evident by the stable’s achievements with Nature Strip,” Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said.
“Chris’s achievements are unparalleled by anyone in any sport and to say they are extraordinary would be an understatement.
“Racing is very lucky not only to have this champion trainer in NSW but for the enormous effort he goes to promote the industry both in Australia and internationally.’’
The Bart Cummings Medal point score – honouring the legendary trainer who passed away just over seven years ago – is comprised of votes from a panel of Sydney racing journalists.
The Hall of Fame trainer also collected a record 12th consecutive TJ Smith Medal for Sydney’s leading trainer, finishing the 2021/22 season with 154 winners. Runner-up was Godolphin’s James Cummings (60 wins) for the fifth consecutive occasion.
Waller had an outstanding season preparing a career-best 353 winners on all tracks to win the national premiership. He also trained 11 Group 1 winners to be the nation’s leading big-race trainer for the 10th year in succession.
Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when Waller-trained runners dominated the equine awards, too.
Waller’s super sprinter Nature Strip claimed The Everest and three Group 1 races last season, including his famous win in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in England, and was voted NSW Champion Racehorse and also took out the sprinter award.
Stablemate Verry Elleegant also won two awards in the miler and stayer categories, while another Waller runner, Hinged, won Queen of the Autumn.
Other major winners were Fireburn (Juvenile), Anamoe (3yo), Think It Over (middle distance and provincial) and Shelby Sixtysix (country).
McDonald also had a memorable season, claiming his sixth George Moore Award after riding 104 winners to win the Sydney jockeys’ premiership. The superstar rider also won the award previously in 2013/14 (72 wins), 2015/16 (89.5), 2018/19 (104), 2019/20 (103.5) and 2020/21 (131).
Tyler Schiller took out his first Theo Green Award for leading Sydney apprentice with 45 wins for the season. He continues a four-year run for his master Mark Newnham, following title wins by Tom Sherry (2020/21) and Robbie Dolan (2018/19 and 2019/20).
Danny Williams, who trained his first Group 1 winner with Shelby Sixtysix, was voted the Caryl Williamson NSW Racing Writers’ Personality of the Year, Ian Smith won the Sydney Strapper of the Year, and Mazu was BOBS Horse of the Year.
Final standings for the 2021/22 Bart Cummings Medal
95 – Chris WALLER
75 – James McDONALD
54 – Hugh BOWMAN
42 – Sam CLIPPERTON
41 – Nash RAWILLER
NSW Racehorse Owners Award winners
Fireburn (Arrowfield NSW Two-year-old of the Year)
Anamoe (Inglis NSW Three-year-old of the Year)
Nature Strip (ATC NSW Champion Sprinter)
Verry Elleegant (Wild Oaks NSW Champion Miler)
Think it Over (Woppitt Bloodstock NSW Champion Middle Distance Horse)
Verry Elleegant (Highclere & Sire Custodians NSW Champion Stayer)
Hinged (Carrazzo Consulting NSW Queen of the Autumn)
Shelby Sixtysix (Sky Thoroughbred Central NSW Champion Country Horse)
Think it Over (TAB NSW Champion Provincial Horse)
Nature Strip (Gow-Gates Insurance NSW Champion Horse of the Year)