Fashion

Chris Waller celebrates season in typical fashion and takes immediate aim on 2022-23 season


It was another bumper season for the Chris Waller stable which ended on the perfect note at Rosehill on Saturday with a winner in the last race.

The champion trainer saddled up 352 winners across Australia for 2021/22 and his runners earned just shy of $50 million.

Waller wouldn’t have even known those stats if you asked him and he hasn’t forgotten what life was like when he was struggling with less than 20 horses in his stables.

“I said to myself in the early days, don’t set goals because you only get disappointed,” he said.

“I feel for the younger trainers starting out and doing it tough because they’ll set themselves 20 wins a year and it might not sound like a lot but it’s bloody hard to do.”

Waller’s Sur La Mer won the last race on Saturday and earned $76,500 for the win which is a figure that was once reserved for Stakes races.

“We’re 52 weeks of the year and it’s a big deal today. We’re running for a lot of money,” Waller said.

The country’s leading trainer was typically reserved when asked how he would celebrate the end of the season.

“I said to Steph (wife), I want to go out to dinner with her tonight, just her and the kids. It means a lot to me.”

Waller won’t have much time to rest because the Group 2 Missile Stakes is on this Saturday and he’s keen to see how well one of his many Group 1 winners trials on Tuesday morning at Randwick.

Vinery Stud Stakes winner Fangirl goes around against the likes of Benaud, Converge and In The Congo in a 900m heat at 8:30am.

She’s won five from 10 to kick off her career including a win against boom stablemate Espiona in the Light Fingers Stakes last preparation.

While she’s been a top-line filly against her own age and sex, she’s at the point in her career where she’ll be further tested against all comers.

Waller has a big Group 1 planned for her as long as she returns in good fashion.

“The spring unearths so many stars so there’s a lot to look forward to,” he said.

“I never ever expect with four-year-old fillies, as I call them, because they’ve tuned into mares and they’re racing against older horses and they can go either way and if you ask too much you can never get them back.”

“A race like the Epsom would be ideal for her. It’s a good stepping stone and we’ll see what happens from there.”

Anamoe is the $8 favourite in the Epsom while Fangirl is rated at $15.

Anamoe’s trainer James Cummings confirmed on Saturday that his star horse would resume in the Group 1 Winx Stakes next month.

FIVE TO FOLLOW

SIR RAVENELLI (Race 1)

He’s still learning his trade which is why he can do things wrong in the run but the gelding got a fair engine inside him which was proven on Saturday when he worked quite hard in the run and was entitled to drop out but still ran second to a progressive horse.

OPAL RIDGE (Race 2)

The Scone-trained filly proved she belonged in town after a luckless run when second to Troach. She was stuck three back on the fence entering the home straight and got held up until the 100m when she finally got clear and flashed home.

RIVA DEL SOL (Race 5)

She went around at a good price and got no clear room in the straight when looking like she had plenty to offer. She wouldn’t have beaten the winner but I think she runs second so she’ll be good value next time.

GOLD TRIP (Race 8)

He was off the bit and chasing most of the way over a trip shorter than ideal at his Australian debut but his class carried him into third and he got held up at the 250m but still produced the fastest last 600m and 200m of the race.

CATESBY (Race 9)

He ran eighth and wasn’t beaten too far but the stable used this run as a lead up to a 1100m race next Saturday at Randwick and a drying track only helps him later in the week. He’s turned the corner in a big way.

YOU CAN BET ON IT

Cross Talk was the subject of a good go late and landed some decent bets.

Was $3.30 into $2.50 on the day with the majority of that move coming in the final 20 minutes of betting. The winner was responsible for 35 per cent of the total investment on the race.

Shades Of Rose was one of the best backed runners across the country. She was smashed in betting, starting $1.75 after opening $4.20 on Wednesday.

The Bjorn Baker-trained mare held 72 per cent of the total investment on the race and attracted plenty of big bets, including one of $10,000 at $1.80.

TRACK TALK

“I’ve got to get horses into big races, it’s as simple as that,” said Chris Waller in response to aiming horses at the Big Dance qualifiers.

“I think he would’ve found an extra couple of lengths at least if there was any pressure so he’s definitely got a lot of upside,” said Jean Van Overmeire after Cross Talk’s win.

“He would never have been asked to travel like that in a race. In France, they go slow and they build whereas there, they did hit the ground running a bit so I’m very pleased,” David Eustace said of Gold Trip.

“Matt (Dale) filled me with lots of confidence this morning when he rang me and said ‘do you want to pick up a winner’ and I said ‘absolutely’,” James McDonald said.

“He has to settle, otherwise he won’t produce his best and it worked out really well for us today. We weren’t confident of that happening (from the barrier) but it did,” Hugh Bowman said of Pizarro.

CRUNCH TIME

Gold Trip (Race 8)

The European import came here with a big reputation having run well in an Arc and he ticked his first box by running a nice race in the Winter Challenge over 1500m. He was held up in the straight at a crucial point but still picked up to run third and record the fastest last 600m of the race in 34.97 seconds.

Contributingfactor (Race 3)

Kerrin McEvoy settled him in the back half of the field and gave him an economical run in transit which is why he was set up so well to give him best chance in the straight. He made his move between the 400m and 200m with an 11.37 sectional as he showed his superior turn of foot and was the only horse in the race to break 35 seconds for the last 600m.

Sir Ravanelli (Race 1)

He was set alight from a wide gate and was the only horse in the race to break 14 seconds for the first 200m as he crossed them to lead. He still put in one of the better 400m to 200m sectionals despite working early and his top speed of 68.9km/h was superior as no other horse hit more than 66.6km/h.

STEWARDS SAY

Siege – on jumping was bumped by Liberty Sun which shifted out. Throughout the middle stages raced keenly. Over the final 50m shifted in and caused crowding to third placegetter, Enchanted Heart. Following a protest which was upheld, Siege was relegated from second to third placing.

Troach – when questioned regarding the filly leading, apprentice Reece Jones reported that his instructions were to endeavour to find cover. He said that Troach jumped extremely well and as a result he elected to capitalise on the good start which resulted in Troach holding the lead.

Glacier Queen – shortly after the start was bumped by Rupertaar, which was taken in. Laid out rounding the home turn. Passing the 400m was hampered when Ruby Kisses was taken out slightly by Sneaky Paige.

Originally published as Premier trainer Chris Waller won’t be making any predictions about the 2022-23 season

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