As they say, there is no better feeling than that ‘winning feeling’, and with thousands trying on the crown of training race horses, only very few succeed. Here are five trainers to watch out for this autumn.
Setting a 3am alarm clock preparing for track work sessions (basically boot-camp for horses) is standard drill for most horse trainers. Not only are they required to have an accurate eye for a winner, they also need to get on well with the horse’s owners (who pay the bills), work nearly seven days a week, and travel the globe attending races.
Although it can also be a glamorous life, horse training as a profession involves incredible commitment and hard work (with perhaps a tiny dash of good luck). So next time you’re trackside, look out for these trainer’s names, appreciate the hard work that goes into their craft behind the scenes, and impress your friends with your racing cred.
Gai Waterhouse – Randwick NSW
- Champion horses you might have heard of: Vancouver, More Joyous, Pierro
- Total earnings: $235,051,480
The first lady of Australian racing, Gai Waterhouse has had an incredible 120 Group 1 winners in her 25 years as a trainer. From racing blood, Waterhouse won the 2013 Melbourne Cup with imported galloper Fiorente, becoming just the second woman (and the first local female) to claim Australia’s biggest race. With determination in her stride and arguably the best known name and personality in racing, siding with Gai is a no-brainer!
Chris Waller – Rosehill and Warwick Farm NSW, Flemington VIC
- Champion horses you might have heard of: Winx, Who Shot Thebarman, Kermadec
- Total earnings: $158,269,618
New Zealand-born Chris Waller is positioned as the dominant force in Australian racing, with more than 40 Group 1 winners and a collection of Sydney premierships under his belt. Branching out with stables in Sydney and Melbourne, it’s been said Waller’s eyes are now set on the two-year old horses, meaning he could be one to watch for the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper this Autumn.
Darren Weir – VIC
- Champion horses you might have heard of: Prince of Penzance, Stratum Star, Palentino
- Total earnings: $88,933,099
After years as the leading country trainer in Australia, Weir needs no introduction these days. Weir’s biggest moment was when his galloper Prince of Penzance claimed Australia’s most famous race, the 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup, at the odds of 100/1. For those who like backing a ‘long shot’ this Melbourne Cup victory was an absolute dream, not to mention when teamed with jockey Michelle Payne, the first female in history to win the prestigious race.
David Hayes – Randwick NSW, Flemington VIC, Morphettville SA
- Champion horses you might have heard of: Criterion, Fields of Omagh, Miss Finland
- Total earnings: $133,159,000
David Hayes was the youngest trainer ever to be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame and later went on to train in Hong Kong (considered the most competitive training jurisdiction in the world). Hayes has won at least one edition of each of the big four races in Australia: the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper. Now partnered with son Ben, Hayes is a household name.
Peter Snowden – Randwick NSW
- Champion horses you might have heard of: Capitalist, Sepoy, Helmet
- Total earnings: $86,766,322
After six years as head trainer of global breeding operation Darley Australia, Snowden has 29 Group 1 winners under his name. In 2012/13 Peter also became the first Australian trainer to clean sweep the nation’s two-year-old Group I races for the season. Peter is now in partnership with his son Paul, and the successful pair haveg already had 138 winners – you might say they’re a consistent and sure-pick this Carnival.