Chris Waller crashes through $40m prizemoney barrier for the season

Chris Waller became the first trainer to prepare the winners of at least $40 million prizemoney in a single season after the wins of Catwalk and Invincibella yesterday.

Catwalk produced an impressive fast-finishing effort to win the opener at Royal Randwick, the Winter Racing Handicap, leaving Waller needing just another $10,000 race prizemoney to achieve the milestone.

The Hall of Fame trainer only had to wait 20 minutes before Invincibella collected $116,000 by winning the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes at Eagle Farm. He added another stakes win when Kolding charged home to take out the Queensland Guineas.

Even in this era of inflated prizemoney, it is an extraordinary result by Waller as it was only five years ago when he became the first trainer to prepare the winners of $20 million in a season.

It was fitting that Catwalk and Invincibella took Waller over the $40 million prizemoney barrier as both are raced by Star Thoroughbreds’ Denise Martin, a major supporter of the stable.

Invincibella, a rising six-year-old mare, scored her 10th win and took her total earnings to more than $2.1 million but juvenile filly Catwalk is just starting her race career winning her maiden at just her second race start.

Waller was at Eagle Farm on Saturday but stable representative Charlie Duckworth predicted a bright future for Catwalk.

“She has always shown us ability,’’ Duckworth said. “Obviously she is looking for a little further but it was a very solid performance.

“It’s great to find out early in their career that she has another string to her bow by handling a heavy track. Every horse can go on a good track but not all can go on a heavy. She has done it well today.’’

Catwalk ($7) came from last early and surged down the centre of the track late to score by a half length from Switched ($5.50) with a short neck to Covert Ops ($5.50).

Lanigera was sent out the $5 favourite but struggled in the conditions before finishing fifth.

Catwalk was a $280,000 Magic Millions yearling purchase and is part-owned by Christine Cook who also bred the runner-up, Switched.

Jay Ford, rider of Catwalk, was impressed by the filly’s determination.

“She is still very green and raw but the talent is there,’’ Ford said. “They went along at a nice speed and she relished the tempo. She has a lot of ability and a bit of attitude, too.

“When they (barrier attendants) were trying to load here, she put her foot down. I don’t think she takes too kindly to being told what to do. But I really liked the way she let down in the straight because she is still learning and doesn’t quite know how to savage the line.’’ – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph.

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