We love our horses.
We love everyone’s horses because we know what it is like to live with them. That makes what happened on Melbourne Cup day so heartbreaking for the everyone in the industry.
We feel it when a horse is tragically injured like The Cliffsofmoher and doesn’t come home.
There can only be one winner but you want to see all horses healthy at the end of the race in a celebration like the Melbourne Cup.
It was a shock to see the horse drop back through the field and it gives you a sick feeling.
When the unthinkable happens, it is like losing a mate and there is a reminder every time you walk past their box. There are tears.
Everybody from the owners to the trainer and staff take its personally when a horse dies.
We have been lucky to have our horses coming home safely this carnival.
I can ensure people that no risks are taken with the horses. They are checked thoroughly, whether it be five minutes before a race, or five weeks before a race.
Fortunately, it is rare to see what happened on Tuesday and hopefully as many people as possible can understand this.
We spend seven days a week with them. We know them. We know what they like and what they don’t. We are always looking out for them.
It is a deep and personal relationship for me and my staff with our horses.
My staff have again been wonderful during this carnival, which concludes with the final group 1 races on Saturday.
It has been a very big spring carnival and we are certainly proud of our results. We won the first group 1 of the season with Winx in August and we have been operating at carnival level since.
That is a very long period and it is demanding on horses and staff. In the spring my staff are getting horses ready for their first run in August and most importantly for the last in November.
We only have the one group 1 runner in Shillelagh at Flemington on Saturday. She is in the last group 1 of the carnival, the Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes Wines Stakes.
She won with a bit of class in a group 1, albeit against her own sex, last Saturday. James McDonald stays with her and she will need to be at her best.
She takes on some good overseas opposition and is stepping up to 2000m for the first time. Her family would suggest the trip will be to her liking and the way she is racing I’m sure she will run well.
It would be great to complete the carnival with another group 1 win.
Unfortunately, I will have to wait another year for a Melbourne Cup. I have the taste for the Cup, especially after Finche hit the front in the straight. Our horses ran well on Tuesday – Finche running fourth, Youngstar running sixth, while Who Shot Thebarman was brave back in the field.
Finche was left in front a long way from home and just struggled as a result. Youngstar was three-wide the whole way and that probably cost her running in the top four.
Both horses are very immature and are going to improve with time, and could be back next year.
I think we can beat the international raiders if we stick to what we know best and that is training horses and not getting caught up with the politics of worrying about other horses.
The European horses do get a pretty easy run into qualifying for the Cup. They see that the prizemoney we race for in Australia is amazing and they want to be part of the big day. We must not deny them that right.
But we shouldn’t lose sight that Australian stayers need to be in our race. I would like to see more than staying races to develop our horses and let them have the base to run out a strong two miles.
The carnival has left me with memories of Winx in the Cox Plate and several other winners but it has also seen the next generation of our stable come through, led by The Autumn Sun, who won the Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas.
I think a lot of our horses will improve for the autumn, which makes 2019 exciting for us.
We have up-and-comers like Zousain and Lean Mean Machine, which were second and third in the Coolmore Stud Stakes. I think they will be good sprinters for us in the autumn.
Even a horse like Adana, which ran sixth in the Carbine Club but closed off in some very quick sectional times, is one I like. He is one I would follow in the autumn.
The next stop will be Perth with their group 1 carnival. We will take some of our second-tier group 1 horses over there. Racing never stops and there is a race for every horse.
The next month or so is a good opportunity to tie up some loose ends and spend a bit more time with the family.
My kids are getting older and understand dad has to be away for work. But the time I spend with them is incredible and I wish I could see them more.
The smiles on their faces make my day and they understand why I’m away when we are winning but not all the time. – Chris Waller