in depth

Boys, she's no good

Gary Still

'Boys, she's no good': The untold of story of how Chris Waller almost gave up on Winx

By Andrew Webster 27th October 2017

Let's go back to his Rosehill stables the day after the 2015 ATC Oaks at Royal Randwick on the second day of The Championships. Waller is standing next to his racing manager, Liam Prior, and they are running an eye over one of his precocious fillies who now doesn't look so precocious at all.

'We didn't know what we had': Chris Waller admits he wasn't aware of the potential in Winx. She had gone out as the $2.80 favourite in the Oaks but gave Gust of Wind too much start and couldn't haul her in. Now, in her box, the filly looks like a boxer who's struggling to get off his stool for the 12th round.

"Boys," Waller says to Prior and other members of his staff, "she looks no good." For this filly, he knows there isn't much time left. "Let's try to squeeze one more win out of her," Waller says. "An easy group 1."

The $500,000 Queensland Oaks in six weeks' time is identified as the "easy group 1", but she needs to first race in the group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas following a three-week freshen up. Waller isn't at the track on this day, a rarity for a workaholic like he is. Instead, he's at home in Sydney. He's forgotten all about the race and is about to leave for an appointment. The race is an afterthought. Suddenly, he remembers. "I'll just watch this before I get in the car," he says to his wife, Steph.

This time, the filly is the $2.60 favourite but coming to the turn looks nothing like it: she is last and there's a pack of horses in front of her. Betting tickets are scrunched up, angry patrons in TABs scanning the other TV screens for the next investment. Just another horse, in another race, on another day of racing. "She'll have to come past the 17 of them!" declares racecaller Alan Thomas.

And then, as if the filly has heard him say it, she does. She hooks as wide as possible but doesn't really get going until there's 200 metres of turf left to play. Now she's flattening out and lengthening her stride, like jockey Larry Cassidy has pressed some imaginary turbo-charged button in the cockpit. At the 100 metres, Thomas catches her in the corner of his eye. "Look at her! She's come from last! She's stormed down the outside … Oh, what a win!" In the mounting yard, Cassidy climbs off and shakes his head in disbelief. "This is the best horse I've been on since Sunline," he says.

"We didn't know what we had, definitely not," Waller told colleague Chris Roots this week in a candid interview for Fairfax Media. "The reason we went to Queensland was we had a good look at her and thought she was going to struggle as a four-year-old – she was a pretty frail four-year-old. There's not much of you and you are one step below the good horses. So we took her to the Oaks and won. But there aren't too many horse that can go to the next level. Hence the reason we targeted the Epsom Handicap [in Sydney in the spring]. Hence the reason we didn't go to a Caulfield Cup. Hence the reason we went to a Cox Plate at her third start of a preparation."

Not that Waller thought Winx was capable of winning a Cox Plate. So much so, he forgot that she was even nominated. "I don't even know why she was nominated," he admits. "We must have thrown in the nomination because they close early and she happened to be one of them. We didn't go to the Cox Plate full of confidence or expecting to win. I couldn't even tell you where she was in the betting. People were starting to talk about her but at that stage she had only won four in a row."

She was the $4.60 favourite in a quality field. Jockey Hugh Bowman hugged the rail for most of the race and then, with 400 metres to go, the gap opened and she won by five lengths. "The seas parted for her at the 400 metres mark and she sailed away," Waller says. "She was our darling. She didn't need to do any more in life, she'd won a Cox Plate. There was still that little bit of doubt: did the seas part for her? Did she just have everything go her way? Was the fence the place to be? I thought it would only be a matter of time until she got beat."

She hasn't. The filly that looked no good may never get beaten again.

This was extracted from a much longer article in the Sydney Morning herald.


Ninja Cup

The Hunter

Rumours around that Channel 9 plans to host this new race. Horses will start on top of the Harbour Bridge and have to jump onto the Opera House then make their way to Flemington. If not completed in under 3 minutes they will be eliminated. If a horse makes it in time they will then have to run the 3200m course in under 30 seconds to collect $100,000.

6 months to go Malcolm

The Hunter

If Malcolm in the middle can't find a set of decent policies inside of 6 months it's bye bye. Watered down Rudd policies will never be effective.

Wrapping a present twice with expensive paper won't make it a better gift. Socks and pjs from DJs are still just socks and pjs. Give people a ladder and save the wrapping.

champagne turf


wellington cup race 10

10 - savaria
to beat 4,7,11,12

douro cup race 11

11 - santiago
to beat 1,2,3,6

telegraph handicap race 8
tough race
like 4 odyssey moon & 6 statham

Beginning of the end. Sad day.

The champagne turf


Yes its trentham summer carnival time again

race 2 - 3 azraf
race 3 - 12 de gaulle
race 4 - 8 sureasyouwereborn
race 5 - 11 stormy ray
race 6 - 2 rangipo
race 7 - 9 irion
race 8 - 5 natuzzi, 10 & 18 good roughies
race 9 - 6 endeavour

good luck
Protests often draw divided opinions as to whether it should or should not be upheld.

Surely there have been occasions (after looking at the footage and interviewing the jockeys) when a steward must have thought “Geez, I really can’t make up my mind about this!”.

In such instances why can’t the stewards give the race to both of them – ie declare a dead heat. If they can’t make a solid decision, why make one at all?

A normal abnormality

Gary Still

No its not a racing topic, but gambling itself can be quite stressful, and many of you out there possibly suffer in one way or another because of it.

I made a full recovery from crippling back pain and life threatening stomach pain by gaining precious knowledge about how the brain works. Having suffered unbearable stress many years ago, my brain was trying to distract me from that stress by making me focus on an illness or injury that didn’t exist or had healed long ago.

The knowledge gained from a book written by John Sarno was life changing. The insights gave me tremendous power on how to resolve almost any problem that came my way, and has been of invaluable help to my family and friends.

If you suffer back problems, stomach problems or pain of any sort that wont go away, this knowledge may be the key to your recovery. Spine abnormality is normal, and many with abnormalities have no pain whatsoever.

The body has all the amazing software it needs to heal; you just need to be able to control it.

I urge you to watch this 14 minute video clip.

NZ derby


any thoughts?

Wisdom of Crowds

Gary Still

A long but very interesting year old article about a successful "gambler" named David Walsh.

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