Chris Waller’s fresh approach pays dividends with My Nordic Hero

Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller maintains age is just a number when it comes to his racehorses after seven-year-old grey My Nordic Hero scored a career-best win at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

My Nordic Hero might be at an age when most horses are past their best but he is going better than ever as evidenced by his fast finishing effort to win the Group 3 $160,000 Festival Stakes (1500m).

“We don’t worry too much about age with our horses,’’ Waller said. “As long as their body language says they want to run and I’ve found that is the best way to train horses.

“I didn’t have a choice when I started (training) and I haven’t lost that. Older horses have been pretty good to me and if you look after them they will look after you.’’

My Nordic Hero, confidently backed into $3.70 favouritism and aided by a perfectly timed ride from Hugh Bowman, ran down a game Goodfella ($6.50) to win by a half length with Chamois Road ($13) three-quarters of a length away third.

Bowman said My Nordic Hero was a rejuvenated racehorse this campaign.

“His effort and desire made all the difference in the end,’’ Bowman said.

Waller admitted he has learned from past mistakes with My Nordic Hero.

“We probably got it wrong with My Nordic Hero last preparation,’’ he said.

“He had been off the scene for a couple of years and even though he was racing well, he wasn’t winning so we stepped him up in distance. But this preparation, his first-up run was terrific so we thought let’s keep him fresh and run him here.’’

My Nordic Hero showed the benefits of a different training routine in the Festival Stakes, his sixth win from 18 starts.

Waller confirmed My Nordic Hero will lead his stable charge on Sydney’s premier summer race, the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on December 15.

“The Randwick mile will suit this horse,’’ he said. “At this stage I hope to have My Nordic Hero, Sambro and Torgersen in the Villiers.’’

My Nordic Hero will attempt to become the fourth horse this century to complete the Festival Stakes-Villiers Stakes double after Ike’s Dream (2004), Utzon (2006) and Monton (2011).

Waller prepared hat-trick of wins in successive Rosehill, including a stakes double with My Nordic Hero and ATC Cup winner Exoteric. Mazaz’s win was the middle leg of the stable treble.

My Nordic Hero gave Waller his second Festival Stakes win after I’m Imposing’s 2014 win.

I’m Imposing then ran a close second in the Villiers before winning the Summer Cup (2000m) and Waller suggested My Nordic Hero will follow a similar race program through December.

Goodfella was having his first start in six weeks and his effort to beat all but My Nordic Hero pleased trainer Bjorn Baker.

“He deserves his chance in the Villiers,’’ Baker said of Goodfella. “He will meet My Nordic Hero a bit better at the weights and he has some improvement to come.’’ – The Daily Telegraph.