Chris Waller flies Queensland flag, as winter carnival proves catalyst for spring riches
AS Chris Waller powers towards another record-breaking haul of Group 1 wins this season, he has almost single-handedly put the Queensland winter carnival on the map this spring.
Delectation became Waller’s fourth individual Group 1 winner to have raced at this year’s winter carnival when he took out Saturday’s Darley Classic at Flemington.
He follows dual winner Winx, Press Statement and Boban as Group 1 winter graduates for Waller this spring.
Throw in the Myer Classic victory by Robert Smerdon’s Politeness and it means six of the 27 Group 1 races contested in Australia this season (22 per cent) have been won by horses that campaigned in Queensland this winter.
Add in homegrown Moir Stakes winner Buffering, who did not race at the carnival, but wintered here, and that is more than a quarter of all Group 1 races this season.
In New Zealand, Addictive Habit also won at Group 1 level.
Waller, who has remarkably trained a third of the Group 1 winners in Australia so far this season, had eight individual horses win stakes races over the spring that raced here over the winter.
Delectation, Winx, Press Statement and Boban were joined by Counterattack, Sadler’s Lake, Catkins and She’s Clean.
Adding to the presence in Group 1 races were Rock Sturdy, Srikandi, Ball Of Muscle, Pornichet and Counterattack, who all placed at the highest level.
Stradbroke flop Black Heart Bart has been awesome since returning home to Perth, with his Group 2 success at Ascot on Saturday following Group 3 and Listed wins.
Winx is the first winter graduate to claim one of the spring majors since Queensland Derby runner-up Shocking won the 2009 Melbourne Cup.
Shocking, in fact, completed a stellar decade for the carnival in the Cup, after Viewed, Ethereal and Brew. The Cox Plate winners were Might And Power and Dane Ripper.
No carnival graduate has won the Caulfield Cup since Ethereal in 2001. Before her were Arctic Scent, Doriemus and Paris Lane.
Waller described seeing Winx win the Sunshine Coast Guineas from an impossible position as “the start of something special” and hopefully it will spark others to follow his lead next year.
Straddie holds its ground
FOR a race that was potted in some corners, this year’s Stradbroke has not proved a bad form reference.
There have been two subsequent Group 1 winners (Boban, Delectation), two Group 2 winners (Lumosty, Black Heart Bart), a Group 3 winner (Smokin’ Joey), a Group 1 placegetter (Srikandi), three Group 2 placegetters (Knoydart, Hot Snitzel, Temple Of Boom) and a Listed placegetter (Charlie Boy) from the 12 horses to race since running in it.
QUEENSLAND CARNIVAL GRADUATES
GROUP 1 WINNERS
Winx (Cox Plate, Epsom), Delectation (Darley Classic), Politeness (Myer Classic), Press Statement (Caulfield Guineas), Boban (Memsie Stakes)
Winx, Press Statement, Black Heart Bart, Lumosty
GROUP 3 WINNERS
Politeness (x2), Black Heart Bart, Escado, Sadler’s Lake, She’s Clean, Catkins
Counterattack (x2), Awesome Rock, Dothraki, Fast ‘N’ Rocking, Worthy Cause, Black Heart Bart
GROUP 1 PLACED
I’m Belucci, Rock Sturdy, Counterattack, Srikandi, Ball Of Muscle, Pornichet
GROUP 2 PLACED
Hot Snitzel, Dothraki, Bohemian Lily, Solicit, Knoydart, That’s A Good Idea, Payroll, Ninth Legion, Rudy, Weary, Temple Of Boom
GROUP 3 PLACED
Dublin Lass, She’s Clean, Lucky Lago, Leebaz, Awesome Rock, Peace Force, Miss Cover Girl, Harlem River, Zarzali, Bring Me The Maid, Hawkspur, I’m Imposing, Craftiness, Hazard
(Trained here, but did not run in carnival)
Buffering (Won Moir Stakes), Honesta (Group 1-placed Flight Stakes, VRC Oaks)
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail