Winx's Trainer Calls Pommy Commentator A 'Dickhead' For Bagging His Champ
Chris Waller, trainer of champion racehorse Winx, is a true gentleman. That's the first thing you need to know.
The second thing you need to know is that seven-year-old mare Winx is beyond doubt a champion. This we state as fact, irrespective of whether our green-and-gold goggles are on.
If her 28 straight wins don't convince you, or her record 21 wins at Group One level -- which is the internationally recognised pinnacle of racing -- then perhaps her current rating as the world's best horse might seal the deal.
Then there's the stuff the statistics don't record. Like her will to win. The way she comes from impossible positions, time and time again. Any way you look at her, Winx does things other horses just don't do.
Of course, certain northern hemisphere types will never be convinced that anything that happens South of the equator is genuinely world class. One such blowhard who blew-in to Melbourne this week was British ITV racing commentator Matt Chapman.
Chapman once had a crack at Black Caviar -- the Aussie mare who won all 25 of her career starts including a 2012 win at Royal Ascot in England. He ended up with soggy British bacon and egg on his face after that, but at a breakfast in Melbourne, he was clearly up for more.
"It's hard when you've got a room full of Australians to tell you what it's like at home with Winx, but perhaps I should," Chapman said.
"Back home, we feel Winx is beating fairly moderate horses," Chapman said
And today, Chris Waller fired back. Speaking to Gerard Whateley -- who incidentally wrote the official Black Caviar biography -- on Melbourne radio station SEN, the usually mild-mannered Waller surprised many with an out-of-character outburst.
"I've taken those comments in and I was very, very surprised and disappointed to the fact that I think he's a bit of a dickhead for saying it really," Waller said.
No one saw that coming. As you can see in the video at he top of this story, Gerard Whateley definitely didn't see it coming. But Waller wasn't done.
"You're in a foreign country, you have a little bit of respect. You might go back and say it back at home, but you're invited to be at a breakfast, sure you've got to speak your mind... but it's a bit harsh to say over the past four years, or three-and-a-half years that she's been winning, he's basically saying every horse that she's beaten is rubbish.
"That just puts a mockery on Australian racing, which is regarded as close to the best in the world, and I'm sure our punters and followers of racing would be disgusted by those comments."
To put all this in perspective, the story of Winx is the story of Waller . This is a humble former rugby-playing Kiwi who came to Sydney in the late 1990s with precisely zero dollars in his bank account. He had to work for everything -- including respect.
Any racing person will tell you it's no accident that horses of the calibre of Winx are now sent his way by owners eager for the right trainer.
Waller has managed Winx to perfection, never racing her too often, resisting the allure of huge money overseas because of a love of the horse. His first priority has always been Winx's welfare, not the approval of the overseas racing establishment or opinionated name-droppers like Matt Chapman.
The third thing you need to know? That Chris Waller -- who we remind you, just called Matt Chapman a dickhead -- has built a career on getting every little detail just right.