More than 40,000 fans will converge on Randwick to watch Winx’s farewell on Saturday but her trainer Chris Waller will be nowhere to be seen.
In fact, he’s the one who asks others what it’s like to watch Winx.
Waller never watches his horses race in the flesh, preferring to sit alone in a small room and watch them go around on TV. He famously said after one of Winx’s Cox Plate victories that he watched it “out near the toilet somewhere”.
Waller will appear to the big Randwick crowd from his spot under the grandstand about five minutes after Winx runs in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday. He got quite emotional when explaining why he prefers to watch the races away from the spotlight.
“Not many people would understand the pressure that a trainer is under when you’re in that situation,” Waller said.
“There’s that much emotion and things riding on a race result for a trainer, whether it’s your first winner, first Group winner, an expensive colt or if it’s a short-priced favourite.
“I like to be on my own. I don’t need the emotions of the highs and lows of a race.
“I’ve got a different spot to watch Winx at each race track. There’s just less fuss and you can keep your emotions pretty neutral because when a horse jumps through to it finishes everything goes through your mind.
“A horse like Winx isn’t much different to any horse in a Group 1 race, but when you watch it on your own you get to absorb it all properly and you get that 20 seconds post-race to prepare for the Winx receptions.”
When Winx won the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes on Golden Slipper day three weeks ago, Waller commented how “electric” the Rosehill crowd was.
Not that he got to feel it as his champion surged past Brutal in the straight that day.
It will be the same again on Saturday.
“I miss all that atmosphere,” he said. “I get a kick out of watching the snippets of the crowd on TV in a post-Winx race. I ask people what it was it like to watch her. I ask them what it was like out there and they tell me it was a great sporting moment.
“I’ll ask my parents where they watched it and what was it like and I get just as much a kick out of that, understanding how much she means to other people.”
Waller doesn’t give too much away on race day but Winx often gets the better of him and the tears flow. Even though he’s a quiet man by nature, he still likes to be out of the limelight and not be seen.
And that’s not because he doesn’t want fans to see him carrying on excessively during a race.
“I don’t (whip them home),” he said. “When The Autumn Sun raced in the Randwick Guineas I closed my eyes for the last 100m.
“I’ll sit on the edge of my seat. It’s definitely a personality thing and we’re all different.
“Let’s be frank. You don’t know what’s going to happen on a race track. I never come to Winx’s races saying she’s going to win today even if she’s a $1.10 favourite. It’s sport and anything can happen.
“That’s another reason why I sit in there by myself. You just don’t know what will happen.” – The Daily Telegraph