There is an artform in running a huge operation like Chris Waller’s, but even by his high standards the effort with a hardened bunch of stayers was amazing on Saturday.
He took the staying features in Sydney and Brisbane with mudder Wu Gok winning the Lord Mayors Cup at Rosehill after Le Juge ($8) took the Chairman’s Handicap at Doomben.
But it was the Waller team lined up behind them that showed the strength and depth he has beyond 2000m. He prepared the first six home in the Doomben staying contest, and the Lord Mayors Cup trifecta.
“We are a bit top heavy with these horses, Waller said. “But I’m reluctant to move them on when they are winning races and earning good prizemoney for their owners.
“A few put their hands up today and said they want to be here a bit longer.”
Waller had to work out how to split a team of a dozen stayers and all look likely to remain money-spinners as the days get shorter and colder.
There are staying features on both sides of the border for Waller to target every week for the next couple of months and he is the master of giving every horse its chance to win the right race.
Waller’s challenge will be picking those that will get out to 2400m and beyond and others that will be effective at 2000m.
Wu Gok once again showed he is perhaps the best wet-tracker in Sydney as he won by 3-3/4 lengths from Yulong Prince and The Lord Mayor. It was a team effort to get Wu Gok to this target first-up.
“We sent him out to Hermitage and gave them instructions that we wanted him back ready for this race over 2000m. They did a super job,” Waller said.
“But I must admit I was doubting myself if he was ready and I even thought about waiting for a 1600m race next week.
“Then I looked at the forecast of good weather over the next days and decided to run him on the heavy track today, which he enjoys.
“It’s good for your confidence when you know you can step a horse straight out over 2000 metres, it was a good result.”
It meant the Hermitage silks also landed a cross-state double after two-year-old filly September Run won a listed race in Brisbane.
Waller had a double in Sydney as well when True Detective ($4.60) finally found the line under James McDonald, who had a winning treble and is rapidly closing on the century of wins for the season.
McDonald had started the day by winning on Anders ($2.90), who is unbeaten since the addition of the crossover noseband.
– Chris Roots, The Sydney Morning Herald