Chris Waller’s training achievement deserves special recognition (Image: The Daily Telegraph)

Chris Waller’s training achievement deserves special recognition

October 6th 2019

Chris Waller’s masterclass across two states at the weekend must be considered one of one of the greatest moments in Australian sport, not just horse racing.

Chris Waller’s Group 1 “Saturday Slam” ranks among the most dominant feats not just on the racetrack but in Australian sport.

Sydney’s premier trainer won the six races in which he saddled runners at Royal Randwick last Saturday, including the three Group 1 races on the program, Epsom Handicap (Kolding), The Metropolitan (Come Play With Me) and Flight Stakes (Funstar).

Waller also had two winners at Flemington, including a stable quinella in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (Kings Will Dream and Finche).

In total, the Hall of Fame trainer won seven stakes races, including four Group 1 events, during the afternoon. Both achievements are national, if not world, records.

The nation’s most respected sports broadcaster, Bruce McAvaney, hosted Channel 7’s coverage of the Epsom meeting at Royal Randwick and said Waller’s achievement was among Australian sport’s greatest moments.

“What Chris Waller managed to do was perfection, or very close to it,’’ McAvaney said.

“It’s the post-Winx era now and we all wondered how would Chris go without the great mare. Well, Chris has just put on a masterclass, he seems to be getting bigger and better. His legend continues to grow.’’

Only two Australian trainers had won three majors on the same day before and Waller was one of them.

In fact, Waller has had a Group 1 treble three times. Last year, he prepared Unforgotten (ATC Australian Oaks), Winx (Queen Elizabeth Stakes) and Who Shot Thebarman (Sydney Cup) to win on the final day of The Championships, then repeated the feat this year with the same hat-trick of majors from Verry Elleegant (Oaks), Winx (Queen Elizabeth) and Shraaoh (Cup) this autumn.

He also had a Group 1 hat-trick on Slipper Day earlier this year with The Autumn Sun (Rosehill Guineas), Winx (George Ryder Stakes) and ­Nature Strip (The Galaxy).

Gai Waterhouse is the other trainer to win a Group 1 treble in 2007 with Meurice (Champagne Stakes), Desert War (Queen Elizabeth Stakes) and Bentley Biscuit (All Aged Stakes).

Waller with wife Stephanie after Kolding’s Group 1 success.

Waller has taken his record of Group 1 wins to 107, just 11 years after his first major with Triple Honour in the Doncaster Handicap.

He has had a remarkable period of sustained excellence, particularly over the past seven years when he has been the nation’s leading Group 1 trainer each season.

But Waller wasn’t about to rate his Group 1 clean sweep of the four major last Saturday as the highlight of his career.

“It is just behind Winx’s last day when she won the Queen Elizabeth,’’ Waller said. “Nothing will ever eclipse that day.’’

– Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph