Waller teams up with NZ racing royalty

2 Dec 2014

Item courtesy of NZTM

A star-struck Chris Waller wasn't sure whether to call his winning owner Mr Hogan, Sir Hogan or Sir Patrick.

But it didn't change the fact that Sydney's supreme trainer had just landed his first winner for Cambridge Stud founder Sir Patrick Hogan.

Sir Patrick Hogan Photo: Tara Hughes

Romantic Time (NZ) (Fastnet Rock) came from last in the field of six to nail the well-backed Savoureux (Nadeem) by a half head in the Cal Rei Handicap at Canterbury on Wednesday, a victory which had Waller reflecting on his childhood in New Zealand.

Sir Patrick Hogan is best known as the man who stood breed-shaper Sir Tristram and his son Zabeel, the latter providing Waller with his first Victoria Derby winner earlier this month in Preferment (NZ).

"When I was growing up I was certainly very envious of the Sir Tristrams and then even the Zabeels," Waller said.

"To get a Derby winner with a Zabeel and now train a winner for them is quite touching.

"That's why I'm in racing. I was just an outsider looking in, seeing all these big names.

"When you're outside the main circle you just constantly dream of training for someone like that. When you do train for them it means a lot."

The beautifully bred Romantic Time is a half-sister to Silver Slipper winner Amelia's Dream (Redoute’s Choice).

Sir Patrick Hogan put her up for sale as a yearling but when his price expectations didn't meet the market's, he gave her to Waller to train - with strict instructions.

"He said, `keep her if you think she'll be a two-year-old, if not send her home'," Waller said.

"I didn't send her home, I kept her here and she's a three-year-old."

In a meeting underlined by small fields, Romantic Time beat just five rivals but did it in a manner suggesting there was more to come.

Waller believes she has great scope for improvement and hopes to target a stakes race for fillies towards the end of the Sydney autumn carnival.

"She's far from furnished yet and she'll certainly make the grade," he said.

"Races like the James Carr and PJ Bell are quite late in the carnival. We might have a sneaky look at one of those."