WITHIN a few minutes of being granted 10 boxes at Flemington on Friday, Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller indicated he has the 2013 Warrnambool May Racing Carnival on his radar.
Following the declaration that his arch-rival in the Harbour City, Gai Waterhouse, was gearing up for an assault on the three-day carnival, Waller said if Waterhouse went, “I’ll be riding on her coat tails”.
Waterhouse, Australia’s first lady of racing, announced last month she was making an application to Racing Victoria to gain a jumping trainers licence.
She said the Warrnambool carnival was on her agenda and she hoped to bring a team of jumpers and at least one Warrnambool Cup runner to the city.
Waller, who takes over his satellite stable at Flemington in February, said he had heard a lot about the carnival and hoped to have flat runners.
He said he would not have a jumper.
“A few of my clients have been down to Warrnambool for the carnival and I had heard a lot about it,” he said.
“I’ve got the upmost respect for jumps jockeys and jumps trainers.
“There’s an art to training jumpers, but I don’t think I will have a jumper there this year. But I hope to have at least a runner in the Warrnambool Cup.
“If Gai goes to Warrnambool with flat runners, in particular cup runners, I will be there.
“I will be on her coat tails.
“The Warrnambool Cup is worth $200,000. It’s excellent prizemoney.
“I’ve got to run my horses where the best prizemoney is for my owners and the overall prizemoney at the carnival is excellent.”
The New Zealand born Waller, who had an extensive background in racing in his home country, has taken Australian racing by storm since moving to Sydney 12 years ago with four horses in his stables at Rosehill.
With two consecutive Sydney trainers’ premierships, including the 2011-2012 premiership with 124.5 metropolitan winners, Waller joined champion trainers Tommy Smith, Gai Waterhouse and John Hawkes as the only trainers to train more than 120 city winners in one year.
Waller has a commanding lead in the 2012-2013 Sydney trainers’ premiership with 74.5 winners and looks on track to reach more that 100 winners again. Gai Waterhouse is second with 32 winners.
Warrnambool Racing Club officials are rubbing their hands with glee as the event may turn into a betting bonanza for the club.
Warrnambool Racing Cub chief executive John Green said it was exciting that Waterhouse and Waller might have runners at the event.
“One would think if Gai and Chris have runners, they will probably bring their own jockeys to ride their horses,”Green said.
“It could mean that high profile Sydney jockeys like Nash Rawiller, Corey Brown and Hugh Bowman ride at the carnival which would be great for us.
“They are among the best jockeys in Australia.”