Just days after winning his first Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) with a mare who came to Australia after starting her career in New Zealand, Chris Waller has been confirmed as the soon-to-be trainer of another classy Kiwi female. Leading Group 1 Barneswood Farm 48th New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) prospect Tinker Mcphee will remain in New Zealand for her current campaign before transferring to the Waller stable after the November 14 Classic.
Prepared in Matamata by Simon and Katrina Alexander for Australian owner Richard Boyd, the daughter of Nostradamus made a huge impression when powering away from the highly regarded Brando when breaking maiden ranks at Matamata over 1200m earlier this month. “She does stay here for a campaign to get her to the 1000 Guineas before she will join Chris Waller,” Katrina Alexander said.
The Group 2 James And Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa on Saturday is the likely stepping stone to the Guineas for the two-start filly. “I think we favour the Sarten over the fillies race (Group 3 Soliloquy, 1400m) but we will double nominate and accept for one. We will just give ourselves a few options to see how those fields stack up,” Alexander said.
A Group 1 winning trainer, Alexander, now in partnership with husband Simon, has been back training for a year after a five-year absence from training after their late son Jackson was diagnosed with stage three melanoma skin cancer.
Despite trying to re-establish themselves in the training ranks, Alexander said she is aware that trading horses is part of the business. “We are realistic, we have always sold in the past and to be perfectly honest when you have got a small team, it is the only way you make money training here unfortunately,” Alexander said.
“We are no strangers to having to sell. We have sold some very good horses over time and you just have to work a little bit harder to try and find another one. “I think in this situation it is a win-win for everybody in a lot of ways because at least we do get the opportunity to finish the job. “We are very fortunate that we have been allowed to keep the filly here for the next two races.”
A long-time supporter of the Alexanders, Boyd has sold equity in the filly but retains an interest. She follows a well-trodden path to Hall Of Fame trainer Waller, who will also take over the training of fellow Guineas competitor Matchmaker after the Riccarton three-year-old feature, while another Kiwi stakes winner Only Words has also recently joined the powerhouse stable.
“We’ve been associated with Richard right back to when we were first training and he was instrumental in finding us somewhere to stay when we took Honor Babe over for the Sydney Cup (Group 1, 3200m),” Alexander said. “We have maintained contact with him, even when we weren’t training, so it is nice to be able to do a job for him and it has been great to reunite and for it to work out the way it has.”
Tinker Mcphee is the $5 favourite for the 1000 Guineas ahead of Bonham ($6) and Cornflower Blue ($8).