Chris Waller played a bit of cricket in his youth, but never opened the batting. He was more of a medium-pacer, but he knows about the nerves of getting off the mark.
The six-time Sydney champion trainer, who had a record 169 wins last season, started on zero like everyone else on Wednesday, but quickly put his stamp on season 2016-17.
Pound Sterling and Cocoexcel with Brenton Avdulla in the saddle won the opening two city races for the season to get Waller off and running for another year.
“It is like starting all over again and I know how those opening batsmen feel,” Waller said. “You know you have done it before, but until you have a winner, there is still a doubt there for the new season.
“It is good to get off to that sort of start and the pressure goes away a little.”
Pound Sterling and Cocoexcel led throughout at Warwick Farm and gave Waller the opportunity to lead the premiership from start to finish this year.
Avdulla, who led all jockeys for wins in NSW last season, was pleased to be a part of the good start to the season for Waller, even though Cocoexcel was a pick-up ride after Rory Hutchings could not make the weight.
“I trialled the colt [Pound Sterling] and knew he went very well and I saw her trial and took notice,” Avdulla said. “It was a good chance to get on a couple of nice horses for Chris.
“They have both got the potential to become carnival horses.”
Avdulla added a third winner when he tracked the outside fence at the back of the course on Conarchie before finding the best ground in the straight.
“I wanted to be on the best ground that was on the outside fence in the back straight and then I wanted to be the first to the best ground in the straight and I was,” Avdulla said. – Chris Roots