Trainer Chris Waller nears outright Group 1 season wins record with prizemoney to break $40m ceiling

Kolding has Queensland Guineas in sights
May 26, 2019
Winx-mania hits Saturday’s Oaks meeting at Doomben
May 29, 2019

Trainer Chris Waller’s stable will become the first to smash the $40 million prizemoney barrier in a season.

With two months of the 2018-19 racing season remaining, Waller’s horses have already earnt $39,236,610 — an Australian record.

Waller could even surpass the $40 million mark as early as this week.

He has multiple runners at Newcastle on Tuesday, Warwick Farm on Wednesday and potentially in feature races at Rosehill and Doomben on Saturday.

Even in this era of inflated prizemoney and mega-rich races like The Everest, Golden Eagle and Melbourne Cup, this is an extraordinary achievement by Waller given it was only five years ago when he became the first trainer to prepare the winners of $20 million prizemoney in a season.

Waller finished 2013-14 with $22,851,480 and each season since has been the nation’s leading prizemoney-winning trainer.

“Winx has been a big help for the stable the last four seasons as she has been responsible for winning $5 million to $6 million prizemoney each year,’’ he said.

“But we have opened the Gold Coast stables in Queensland, we have the Flemington stables, too, and that gives us over 200 horses in work across the three states.

“Our results are achieved through a lot of hard work from the staff — and I’ve never been more dependent on them than I have the last few years through Winx as I’ve put so much time into her.

“During this period we have been fortunate the Group 1 winners have continued to flow with our other horses as well.’’

Waller has had a career-best season with 17 Group 1 winners — including Winx’s seven majors and The Autumn Sun with four — which equals the all-time trainers record for most Group 1 wins set by Tommy Smith in 1979-80 when he had the likes of the great Kingston Town, Iko, Lowan Star and Mighty Kingdom dominating the big races.

Waller can claim the Group 1 record outright this weekend as he hopes to have as many as six starters in the $500,000 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday — Duchess Of Lennox, Re Edit, Savigne, Welsh Legend, Guise and Lady Cuvee.

“If we don’t get to 18 (Group 1 wins) this Saturday, we still will have some good chances at Eagle Farm next week,’’ Waller said.

“I’m likely to have three in the JJ Atkins Plate with Kubrick, Reloaded and Accession, in the Queensland Derby we are looking to start Nobu and possibly Duchess of Lennox, and in the Stradbroke Handicap we have Ringadingding, Star Of The Seas and maybe Tom Melbourne.’’

Waller, who needs two wins at Warwick Farm on Wednesday to clinch his 150th city winner for the season, said that despite his stable’s run of sustained success over the past decade he still had some unfulfilled career ambitions.

“Group 1 racing in Australia is as good as you get anywhere in the world and we are just trying to be as consistent as we can each season,’’ he said. “But obviously I’d like to win races like the Golden Slipper, Melbourne Cup and The Everest.’’

Waller believes his stable can target the $14 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 19 and the $7.3 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5 with some very competitive chances this spring carnival.

Nature Strip and Yes Yes Yes are among Waller’s likely The Everest contenders, while the trainer has some depth in his staying ranks with Finche, Count Octave, Verry Elleegant and Shraaoh on the Melbourne Cup trail.

“I’m looking forward to The Everest as I think we will have our own runner this time,’’ Waller said. – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph.