Swift Witness may have raced herself into Magic Millions contention on Saturday with a dominant win on the Gold Coast but rival trainer Chris Waller had to be told about it.
“I didn’t see it,” Waller said.
“I was asked if I put much into watching other horses and how they go and I said ‘honestly I didn’t even know it won’.”
The Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott-trained Star Witness two-year-old firmed in from $26 to $7 for this Saturday’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast.
Waller can sit comfortable though because he has the $4 favourite She’s All Class in the race with Shaquero ($11) and Ranch Hand ($13) more than capable backups.
“I’ve only ever dodged two horses, Black Caviar and Winx,” Waller said.
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“I have someone do the form for me and I do my job then if the horses are good enough to win that’s a bonus.”
There’s no doubt that Swift Witness was very good on Saturday but have the punters forgot that She’s All Class hammered her when they met at Wyong late last year?
The Waller I Am Invincible filly won by 4½ lengths that day and was eased down late.
“She’s getting the credentials,” Waller said.
“She’s professional and she’s just been ready to go.
Chris Waller will have three runners in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.Source:Getty Images
“We took her to the Gold Coast track on Saturday for a walk around and she handled it all pretty well.”
Shaquero bounced back to form on Saturday with a gritty second placing behind Finance Tycoon who firmed in from $11 to $9 after his win in the Gold Nugget.
Shaquero, a colt by Irish stallion Shalaa, has led or been running second in all three starts to date which is unusual for a Waller-trained horse and he wants things to change for Saturday’s race.
“He was a little bit disappointing first-up but he was better on Saturday and he’ll be better with a bit of cover,” he said.
“I don’t like leading on my horses, full stop. I think it’s hard for a young horse. I don’t teach my horses to lead, I teach them to chase.”
Ranch Hand scored a dominant win on debut under James McDonald at Warwick Farm just before Christmas and didn’t lose any admirers when running a close third at Eagle Farm on January 2.
He’s Waller’s outsider despite being a $13 shot and the master trainer feels at the moment that his time might come next season.
“I think that run last start will just toughen him up for it,” he said.
“He needs a good draw and a solid tempo and he can be fighting out the finish.
“Where he’ll be in the run just depends on barrier draws but he’s a big track horse and he’ll be a good three-year-old and maybe even a Coolmore horse in the spring.
“He’s probably not really a Magic Millions horse.”
Waller has never won the Gold Coast classic.Source:News Corp Australia
Waller has had plenty of success in late two-year-old races like the JJ Atkins with The Autumn Sun and Press Statement being successful but he’s yet to win a Magic Millions.
It will happen eventually and this year is just about his best chance for Gold Coast glory.
Waller’s never been one to rush his juveniles and hasn’t for a second felt pressured in getting a talented one to a big race.
Coronavirus restrictions means the country’s leading trainer won’t be on the Gold Coast for the sales.Source:Getty Images
“I haven’t done anything different with these two-year-olds. Each year, believe it or not, we’ve got a little more quality,” he said.
“I’ve never been a big buyer at the sales. In the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to get some more expensive yearlings in the stable.
“No-one will believe it when they read it but I can clearly remember driving home from so many sales thinking how I’ll compete next year and that’s while I’ve been winning premierships.”
Waller said he hasn’t once been worried about which horses he was the under bidder on at any sale.
He did however reveal one future star which he almost got as he was just starting to make a name for himself in Sydney.
“There was one horse who I was the under bidder on at the start of my career and that was Grand Armee,” he said.
“I could have changed my life then but I’m not dirty on it. At least I was on the right horse at an early stage.”
Coronavirus restrictions, and having a big team to look after in Sydney, means the country’s leading trainer won’t be on the Gold Coast for the sales.
And he’s not bothered by that one bit.
“I don't think it is any secret that I don’t enjoy the yearling sales, being there, because it is a very, very busy schedule and I don’t get time to spend with my family like other people do at the sales,” Waller said.
“I‘ll be happy watching them from afar in the comforts of my home.
“I have got a good team with Guy Mulcaster and other owners that buy horses through their agents.
“I am going to enjoy it and probably do a better job just sitting back looking setting values, not paying too much money but buying the right horse and then sorting out their training.”
Chris Williams and King Of Hastings combine to win the Heineken Handicap.Source:Getty Images
RON DUFFICY’S WRAP
RUN OF THE DAY
King Of Hastings belied his starting price with a huge win carrying a big weight after sitting wide no cover working in the run.
If this was his tick over run on his way to the Magic Millions Cup next Saturday he can’t do anything but run well at odds.
FORGET THEY RAN
Fifteen Aria was solid in the market before missing a place on Saturday.
Considering she was way up in class and still very raw I want to be very forgiving.
I’m still convinced she’s a nice filly that can charge through her classes with time.
THE BLACK BOOK
Subedar was resuming from a long spell from injury and was outstanding considering the circumstances.
On a day that it was pretty hard to do much from back in the field he did a great job going down to a very promising horse.
He only has to stay sound to get right back on track to a good level.
Robbie Dolan gets the job done on Spirit Ridge in the January Cup.Source:Getty Images
RIDE OF THE DAY
Robbie Dolan had ride of the day wrapped up after his ride on Spirit Ridge in race 7.
It is not easy finding a position from a wide draw from the Randwick 2000m start but his confidence on this horse is great to watch.
In saying that I wasn’t expecting Jason Collett to at least match it in the last on the enigmatic Betcha Flying.
Originally published asWaller not worried about Gai’s Star quality
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