Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller has taken a rare holiday, albeit a brief one – one day for each of his four Group One victories over the Sydney autumn carnival.
Waller wrapped up the autumn with a Group One double courtesy of two horses imported from Europe, My Kingdom Of Fife and Stand To Gain in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Sydney Cup respectively.
Stable stalwart Danleigh kicked things off with his Chipping Norton Stakes win and Rangirangdoo came back from injury to claim the George Ryder Stakes.
Waller ended the autumn carnival on top of the Group One trainers’ list with Peter Snowden on three courtesy of his outstanding two-year-olds Sepoy and Helmet who made a clean sweep of the juvenile triple crown – Golden Slipper, Sires’ Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes.
Waller’s rise to the top has been the result of meticulous planning and he insists he is only getting started.
“We’re lucky we’ve got some good old seasoned campaigners that keep coming up every year but the focus on the next carnival will be getting more two and three-year-olds racing,” Waller said.
“Overall I’m pretty happy with the way things have gone but I know there’s still room for improvement.”
The calculated decision to go to Europe a few years ago to find stayers reaped its rewards on Saturday.
“I went there to buy tried horses because we couldn’t afford to buy quality yearlings in Australia at the time,” Waller said.
His success over the autumn was mirrored by Glen Boss who returned to his former home town to plunder four victories at the highest level.
His first was a surprise aboard veteran Zavite in the Ranvet Stakes followed by Aloha in the Coolmore Classic.
After his AJC Australian Derby mount Absolutelyawesome went by the wayside, Boss was back aboard the filly Shamrocker for a stirring win in the Classic.
A late pick-up ride on Hay List in the All-Aged Stakes when Glyn Schofield was injured in a fall on the final day capped a stellar carnival for the colourful jockey.
For all the great moments the regular players provided, Black Caviar stood head and shoulders above the rest.
The world’s highest rated racehorse made her first trip outside Victoria and treated racegoers to a dazzling display in the TJ Smith Stakes.
For the mare’s trainer Peter Moody, it was a triumphant homecoming.
After beginning his career in northern Queensland, Moody came to Randwick to learn his craft and worked for the late TJ Smith.
“This is a really special win for me personally,” Moody said.
“I spent three years at Randwick learning my trade under TJ Smith so it’s very gratifying.
“There are races named after TJ Smith all over Australia but this is the one.”
Smith’s daughter Gai Waterhouse had a lean carnival by the high standards she has set over the years with More Joyous her sole Group One winner, taking out the Queen Of The Turf.
The mare’s Doncaster Mile bid fell flat when heavy rain came on the day.
Rain was an ever looming presence throughout the two months of the carnival but Australian Turf Club (ATC) chief executive Darren Pearce said the crowds were encouraging.
“Combined crowds were up across the two hero events of the carnival, Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill and Australian Derby Day at Randwick, and the ATC is set to build on this as we progress the merger and make transformational investments in our facilities to ensure we are providing the people of Sydney and beyond an event that truly sits on the world stage,” he said.