When Chris Waller crossed the Tasman Sea armed with four horses and a pocketful of ambition, never in his wildest dreams could he imagine the heights he might scale.
Now as the dominant Group One trainer in Australian racing, Waller will attend the world’s best racehorse awards on Wednesday (AEDT) in London where champion mare Winx is nominated to be crowned as an unparalleled force on turf.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Waller said.
With her winning streak at 13, Winx is in touching distance of surpassing runs made by horses etched into racing folklore like Phar Lap and Bernborough.
Her own chapter of history was enriched by her record-breaking eight-length demolition job in last year’s Cox Plate, with her second consecutive victory in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship placing her as the world’s highest rated horse on turf.
“Winning races is the first dream you have,” Waller said.
“The second dream is getting a good horse to train.
“Getting a horse a horse that was deemed a champion in Australia is another step up again.
“To get a horse that is rated the highest in the world is very special.”
It has been more than 15 years since Waller relocated from New Zealand to Sydney where he has now claimed six training premierships and broken winning and prize money records.
“The sport we’re in delivers experiences that can’t be equalled in any other sport,” Waller said.
“It’s very rare to be able to get to the top of your sport and to be associated with a horse at the top of its game.”
Winx is set to resume in the Group Two Apollo Stakes at Randwick on February 11.
Waller plans to run her in the Group One Chipping Norton and George Ryder stakes before she reaches her campaign climax in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 8.