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Waller explores new horizons for talent
Caryl Williamson
15:45 AEST Wed Jun 13 2012

A few years ago Chris Waller went out on a limb and decided to bolster his fledgling Sydney stable with proven stayers from Europe.

As he heads towards his second Sydney trainers' premiership, Waller now finds himself competing with a host of Australians who have latched on to the idea.

Waller wasn't looking for Group One winners when he first ventured to the Tattersalls sale but horses like Stand To Gain and Kingdom Of Fife have delivered more than expected.

"We bought horses in Europe originally because we could not afford yearlings here and we certainly could not wait for a yearling to mature as a stayer," Waller said.

"I think that is the feeling from most people in Australia if not the world.

"People want a quick return for their money and they do not want to wait two or three years to find out that there is no return.

"We opted to go to Europe as New Zealand horses were very expensive and their main market is Asia. The horses with exposed form are making top dollar and therefore out of our budget."

Syndications headed by OTI and BC3 Thoroughbreds have targeted the top end of the overseas market looking for Melbourne Cup winners.

The race is certainly on Waller's radar but he is still keen on the bread and butter horses although their price has doubled.

"What we have found with the English horses is that they are all competitive and they have all won races except for one horse and I think that we are up to about 35 now," he said.

"The difference now is that the prices have certainly gone up and we are looking a bit higher as well and the value has gone out of it to some extent.

"The average cost back when we started would have been about $100,000 landed in Australia and now I think it is closer to $180,000 to $200,000.

"Obviously you need to win a lot of races to cover that money.

"Therefore we are still looking to other parts of the world and also back to New Zealand where I think there is more value that has come back into the market.

"New Zealand are still breeding stayers but they certainly do not have the depth of stallions that they once had."

Waller is exploring markets in other parts of Europe and also looked at America as an option but has abandoned that for now.

"We are looking further afield and everyone else is as well, to places such as America, Germany, Italy," he said.

"Basically Group One races are the same anywhere around the world and with the internet and technology now you can find out a lot about these horses and their various ratings.

"We were looking at America but we did find it a little bit confusing in terms of the drugs and the rules that they have over there.

"It is a difficult area to get around and something that needs to be avoided so we have gone off the idea of American horses at this stage."


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