Having a big team of horses provides enough distractions for Chris Waller tso he doesn’t get too caught up in the hype of training the country’s best horse.
Winx is the favourite to extend her winning streak to 13 in Saturday’s $3 million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, a race she won by almost five lengths in record time a year ago.
And while Waller admits he feels some pressure to maintain Winx’s winning streak, he’s grateful to be training the mare and is keeping things as routine as possible.
“I feel the public expectation on her is like no other horse that I’ve trained, so that’s been a learning curve,” Waller said.
“But I can only do the best job I’m possibly capable of and so far it’s worked.”
Waller has a large stable in Sydney and carnival contenders in Melbourne preparing for major spring races which keep his mind occupied.
“It’s not the Cox Plate, it’s not the Melbourne Cup, it’s not the Derby. It’s the whole event,” Waller said.
“That’s my job so that takes away the tension and the stress involved of a Cox Plate. If you were a Joe Janiak and you had Takeover Target, that would be a different level all together. All you’d think about is Takeover Target.
“A good example was when we took Brazen Beau to England.
“It was just me and him for two weeks, twice, and no distractions. That was pretty intense. Down here in Melbourne it’s just part of business and that’s what our whole model revolves around, – getting horses to the races 52 weeks of the year.
“And some of those race days happen to be a Cox Plate or a Derby.”
Winx’s work has all been done and Waller said it was now just about keeping her ticking over and she will be ready to go on Saturday.
He said if he started to worry about history, such as joining some of the greats to win two Cox Plates, he could over-analyse the situation.
“I only have to concentrate on one thing and that’s making sure Winx gets to the race in the best possible condition,” he said.
“And in her case, she just has to turn up the same as last year. She set a track record in the race last year.
“Physically she looks like she’s a little bit stronger so that gives me a bit of confidence to say we can at least hold our form. And then we’ve got to worry about where the challengers are coming from.
“Obviously there’s some very good horses in the race and I wouldn’t limit it to one or two.
“I think the whole field deserves respect and that’s what makes the Cox Plate so great. Rarely is it a race in one or two or three, it’s a race full of surprises.
“Full on pressure. Like any grand final should be.”