Waller aiming for Group 1 trans-Tasman double

4 min read

While champion mare Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) will bid for a world record 23rd Group 1 victory at Randwick on Saturday, her trainer Chris Waller will also be taking a keen interest in proceedings at Ellerslie.

The expatriate Kiwi trainer has two representatives in the G1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby with Botti (NZ) (Jakkalberry {Ire}) and Nobu (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}) taking aim at the Classic.

“Botti's owners, the Muollo family, and Nobu's owners Mark Wyborn and Robin Peel-Walker are just passionate about winning Derbies,” Waller said.

“It's a huge privilege for me to have runners in the Derby. The Derby, like every country, is a big deal, but probably more so in New Zealand because there is only one, like there is in Hong Kong or England or Ireland.”

“It's a huge privilege for me to have runners in the Derby.” – Chris Waller.

Botti, who will be ridden by Michael McNab, disappointed in his Derby lead-up when well-beaten in the G2 Avondale Guineas.

Waller believes the gelding, who is out of a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Lion Tamer (Storming Home {GB}), needs an easing of the track to turn his form around.

“Of the two, Nobu clearly is the better chance and Botti just needs a little bit of rain,” he said.

“Everything has gone to plan with Nobu. He ran very well at Ellerslie two weeks ago and he galloped well there on Monday morning.”

“He ran very well at Ellerslie two weeks ago and he galloped well there on Monday morning.” – Chris Waller.

Nobu finished fourth against the older horses over 2100 metres and gave every indication he will lap up the 2400 metres of the Derby

“Pat Cosgrave is coming to ride him. I was so impressed with Pat having ridden Comin' Through in Dubai for us and how professional he was,” Waller said. “It's a bit of a coup to get him.”

Pat Cosgrave is booked to ride Nobu

The Irishman enjoyed a golden spring in Melbourne when he guided Benbatl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) to win the G1 Caulfield S. before adding the G1 Caulfield Cup on Best Solution (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) a week later.

“I rode Comin’ Through for Chris Waller in Dubai a couple of times earlier in the year. I know his Racing Manager Charlie Duckworth well, so the ride has come through that,” Cosgrave said.

“I rode Comin’ Through for Chris Waller in Dubai a couple of times earlier in the year.” – Pat Cosgrave.

“Chris asked if I would be interested in going down and riding Nobu and I had never been there (New Zealand) before. Chris is a world-class trainer, so I have taken the opportunity to go down and see how it goes.

Botti

“If Chris is sending it there he must think it has a live chance in the big race.”

Cosgrave said he had already watched some videos of past New Zealand Derbys to get a feel of what awaits him at Ellerslie.

“If Chris is sending it there he must think it has a live chance in the big race.” – Pat Cosgrave.

“I want to learn as much as possible, there is not much point in going all the way down to ride this horse and not have my homework done.

“I’ll be there early and I’ll walk the track a couple of times and Charlie has helped me pick up another ride beforehand.

“I’ve ridden in Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, South Africa, Dubai, Australia and now New Zealand. There’s not many places left, probably the only place I haven’t been is the US.”