Chris Waller is about to join an illustrious group of coaches who have prepared 500 classics winners, which he can accomplish this weekend.
Sydney’s head coach Chris Waller is set to prepare for his 500th winner at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Waller only needs three more group or list racing successes to achieve the magical milestone and become the seventh coach in Australian racing history to accomplish the feat.
Tommy Smith, Bart Cummings, Lee Freedman, John Hawkes, Colin Hayes and Gai Waterhouse are the only coaches who have won 500 or more races at stake.
Waller didn’t know he was so close to the rare feat when he was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph this week.
“I didn’t realize that (record), but it’s pretty special,” Waller said.
“I remember all of our victories in Group 1 and there is no desire to win those big races, be it a race listed in the dead of winter at Rosehill, a Wyong Cup or a race on the main days.
“I am very proud of the team that surrounds me to make all this happen, it is a great effort.”
Waller has only been training for 22 years, but has already prepared 497 top race winners comprising 126 wins at Group 1, 117 at Group 2 level, 124 at Group 3 and 130 at List level.
The Hall of Fame coach, who has won the last 11 premiership titles in Sydney, has a real shot at reaching 500 titles won this weekend.
Waller is in hot pursuit of the big race on Friday with four riders in Group 3 $ 250,000 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) at Broadmeadow – Dashing Willoughby, Criminal Code, No Compromise and Great House.
Then at the Royal Randwick rally on Saturday, Waller has a powerful inning highlighted by the outstanding mare Verry Elleegant, who is the $ 2.20 favorite to claim her ninth win in Group 1 in the $ 1 million George Main Stakes ( 1600m).
Chris Waller Features Race Runners This Weekend
Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) – Dashing Willoughby, Penal Code, No Compromise and Great House
Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) – Verry Elleegant, Kolding, Star Of The Seas, Hungry Heart
Group 2 Shorts (1100m) – Nature strip
Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) – She is all class, Morioka
Handicap Bill Ritchie Group 3 (1400 m) – Aramayo, Atishu
Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400 m) – Cape Breton
Group 2 Prelude to the Thousand Guineas (1400m) – Morioka
Waller has four runners on George Main, including last year’s winner Kolding, Star Of The Seas, and Hungry Heat.
Champion coach’s super sprinter Nature Strip is the $ 2.40 favorite for Group 2 $ 500,000 The Shorts (1100m).
She’s All Class and Morioka give Waller’s stable a strong hand in Pool 2 $ 200,000 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) while the coach has Aramayo and Atishu in Pool 3 $ 160,000 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m).
Waller also has great race prospects at Caulfield on Saturday, including Cape Breton in Group 3 $ 300,000 Guineas Prelude (1400m).
Most of the interest is focused on the stars of Waller’s stable, Verry Elleegant and the Nature Strip, at the Royal Randwick gathering on Saturday, which is the official start of the Sydney Spring Carnival.
Verry Elleegant endured a tough and long run and was barely beaten by Mo’unga when he resumed at the Winx Stakes last month and will get his preferred soft court conditions on Saturday.
“Verry Elleegant’s manners in racing have improved a bit over time,” Waller said.
“James (McDonald) makes it look easy for her, but he’s not an easy horse and that’s probably the only chink in his armor.
“Even when she makes mistakes, most of the time she is too good for her opponent, but if there is speed, it is 10 times better.”
The Nature Strip resumed with a brilliant Concorde Stakes victory and will endeavor to confirm favoritism for the $ 15m The TAB Everest next month against a field of sprinters that includes Masked Crusader, Eduardo, Gytrash, Rothfire and Lost And Running.
“I think the Nature Strip is going great,” Waller said.
“Not only is it more controllable, it takes care of itself and makes your job easier.
“We saw that first (Concorde Stakes), he was like that too at TJ Smith Stakes and Lightning Stakes earlier in the year. They are difficult races to win and he makes it look easy.
“I never get too far ahead with a good horse, but he seems to have come back very well.”
Originally posted as Champion coach Chris Waller on the verge of achieving another unusual milestone