All Chris Waller wanted to be was a reasonable trainer when he started in the tough game of preparing racehorses in New Zealand.
Reasonable has been replaced by premier trainer, even champion, as he has taken Australia by storm in the past decade. On Friday night, he will become a Hall of Famer in New Zealand.
“I’m very proud about it,” Waller said.
“When I started I wanted to be known as a reasonable trainer. I looked at trainers that were getting close to 1000 winners, which was a big deal in New Zealand, when I was 22 or 23 and thought 25 winners [a year] for 40 years and I might get there.
“Being in Australia with the volume of horses has accelerated it a bit, but I’m very honoured to be going into the Hall of Fame, even though I haven’t won a Group I over there yet. If that comes it will be a very special day.”
Waller has crashed through the 2000 winners barrier with 75 Group I winners and this week became the fastest trainer to 100 winners in a season in Sydney. His list of achievements made him an easy selection for an honour “you can’t dream of”, as Waller put it.
It is a success story about a boy from the Central Districts of New Zealand who dreamed big.
The fact he goes into the Hall of Fame on the same night as legendary trainer Murray Baker, jockey Noel Harris and Veandercross is not lost on Waller.
“They were all within about 30 minutes of where I used to live. It is incredible that we are going in together,” Waller said.
“When I came to Australia I asked Murray Baker whether I should do it and he told me I would be mad if I didn’t go. We both remember that conversation.
“Noel Harris was my boss’s jockey, and one of my heroes, and he rode my first winner for me, so it will be a special night.”
Waller said one of the great things about the night is that he would get to share it with his parents and wife Stephanie’s parents, as well as close friends.
He will be back to work on Saturday with a number of runners at Warwick Farm.
Waller’s stable star Winx – arguably the best racing thoroughbred in the world with a winning streak that stretches over her last 22 starts – was due to run in the Apollo Stakes on February 17 but her first run back since winning her third consecutive Cox Plate back in October has been delayed until the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on February 25.
The delay was to allow suspended jockey Hugh Bowman to ride her. – smh.com.au