From a discussion in March, 2016.
The Chris Waller Phenomenon
He continues to take all before him. He’s come from nothing… five, ten years ago it was in New Zealand and here he is, the biggest trainer in Australia, and he just keeps getting bigger. He’s now more focused on the Group 1s, and producing some real Group 1 horses, and he hasn’t forgotten the run of the mill stuff either. It’s easier to be with him than oppose him as a punter, because if you oppose him too often you’re going to get burnt.
I think there are various scenarios you can oppose him: his training style doesn’t seem to suit 2-year-olds at this stage, you can oppose his 2-year-olds up until about April or so with a bit of confidence. I think if you take the view that first and second up, they’re not going to be fully wound up as they’re looking to build into their preparations, I think that’s the best way to view him as a trainer, he’s looking to get his horses racing consistently for longer periods, and if that sacrifices a run or two early then so be it. There’s nothing nefarious going on, it’s just not quite wound up. The riding tactics are usually to be conserved for one run late, and if the pace is on, and the map suits, they can still will first up. It’s generally that you want to be against him at that stage.
There’s two O’Sheas and two Darleys as far as I’m concerned. There’s Carnival Darley and then there’s the rest of the time Darley, and being such a breeding empire that they are now, a lot of the stuff is focused on the Group 1s and making the good horses. They’re happy to use the mid-weekers and their starting off point as a little education run. I think at this stage you’re better off opposing their horses in mid-weekers. I think they start gross unders most of the time.
The Snowden Stable
These two are the ones that could be the challengers to Waller, if they’re ever is one. They’re a good training operation, very canny operators. I just think they’ve got a lot of ability as trainers, you see them improve horses off other trainers, and I’m just more than happy to back one of their horses if I like them on form.
Two trainers that I love backing in the country and provincially, they’ve probably only got 10 or 12 horses each of them. One of them’s a bloke called Jason Attard out in Hawksbury, I think he does a tremendous job with his horses. When they race at home they’re very hard to beat. Young bloke down in Moruya, Joe Ible, he only has 6 or 8 horses, most of them are passed off that he got from elsewhere, improved every one that he got. I think if he gets some decent horses and a bit of horseflesh, I think we may end up seeing a bit of him. A young bloke called Michael Cross, who I think I mentioned last time, hasn’t quite kicked on yet but I’ve still got faith in him that he will. They’re 3 young trainers that I think punters can look out for.
He’s the number 1, and I’m pretty sure he’s the one that all the jockeys in the room consider number 1 as well. He’s a real horseman, he’s got the balance that others don’t have, he’s got the tactical nous, and he’s just got … He’s a very good judge of pace. He makes fewer mistakes than the rest of them, he’s the number 1.
I think he’s number 2 with a bullet and hot on his heels, there’s no more improved rider in the last year. In terms of making mistakes, there’s no jockey that makes fewer at the moment, he’s just outstanding. He just needs to get on the better horseflesh. What he’s done now, he’s gone from outside the top 10, to the top 5 at the premiership, with barely a ride from Waller, O’Shea, Waterhouse, he doesn’t ride for them he’s always riding for the second string trainers like Baker and Lees and Gerald, trainers that don’t have the horseflesh of the others, and he gets the job done. He’s the one I’m happiest backing, because the market hasn’t found him as well as I have.
I love Canterbury, I think it’s a great track. Gives all horses there a chance, people sometimes think it’s a bit on-paced, but I just think it’s a fair track governed by pace. If they go quick enough you can run on, if the leaders get a soft run they are very hard to catch. It’s the quickest drying track in Sydney, it can be slow to heavy the night before and it will be dead to good the next day if there is sunshine out, it just races so well. The others tend to go to pieces a bit when there’s a bit of rain around.
Rosehill, you sort of play it by ear. Some days its rail, some days its down the centre. It’s a bit moisture related, it’s a bit rail placement related. It’s a lot to do with the wear and tear there as well. Rosehill’s one of those tracks where you really can’t go in with too many preconceived notions.
Warwick Farm, generally they want to be betting off the fence if there’s any moisture in the track, and the more moisture and the closer it is to the true position the more true that is.
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