Chris Waller’s rise to the top of the Sydney training ranks has been the result of meticulous planning and placement of his horses.
His first live chance in the Melbourne Cup has done the job to get himself there.
Kelinni is one of a large contingent of European horses in Waller’s stable, sourced as tried stock suitable to win Saturday races in Sydney with ambitions extending to Summer and Winter Cups at Group level.
Some have proved better than that, including 2011 Sydney Cup winner Stand To Gain and The Verminator, winner of the 2011 Metropolitan who ran unplaced in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
Kelinni has a different profile from many of his stable compatriots, being bought as a northern hemisphere two-year-old with a view to eventually competing at the highest level which Waller expected to happen a year from now.
But as he kept stepping up to the mark this spring, Waller revised his targets in accordance with the horse’s form and his win in Saturday’s Lexus confirmed his status as a chance in Australia’s most famous race.
“We bought him as a two-year-old. It puts them at a big disadvantage when they get here, they are six months behind, and at that time of a horse’s life it’s massive,” Waller said.
“His pedigree is very stout. The Melbourne Cup was always there but I wasn’t sure if it would be too soon. I had to work out the best way to get him to the race and he had to get himself to the race.
“Now he’s in, he will be competitive.”
The winner of a two-year-old maiden in England in September 2010, Kelinni won his Australian debut a year later when he took out a 1250m-race at Canterbury.
He has added six wins since and a second placing to Glencadam Gold in the Group One Metropolitan before his Cup qualifying win in the Lexus.
Waller has bought 50 horses from the Tattersall’s October sale over the past few years and only one has failed to produce a win.
“We bought another eight last week including a filly which is just the second we have bought,” Waller said.
Kelinni will be ridden by Glen Boss, replacing heavyweight Nash Rawiller who was aboard in the Lexus.
The horse will carry 51kg with Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter deciding to leave him at the weight even though he was eligible for a penalty.