MORE than 150 people were treated to a rare insight into the life of Australia's leading racehorse trainer Chris Waller at a special function at Mowbray last night.
Waller was emotional and humorous as he told the story of his rise from humble beginnings on a dairy farm in New Zealand to the top of Sydney racing.
He started out with only a handful of horses and two maxed-out credit cards when he arrived in Australia in 2000 and now has 120 horses in work all year round and 350 on his books.
This season, his horses have won 196 races, almost all on metropolitan tracks, earned $23thmillion in prizemoney and he will be the leading Sydney trainer for the fourth time.
However, in an interview with Tasracing's Peter Staples, Waller revealed that he still took nothing for granted and, despite his success, considered himself a normal person ``just like everyone else in the room.''
``I'm not a public speaker; I'm not a person who sells himself and I find functions like this quite overwhelming,'' he said.
Waller said the best advice he could give anyone in racing was to ``look after your animals and they will look after you.''
Waller recently formed a new partnership with leading syndicator Denise Martin of Star Thoroughbreds, which he said was ``a perfect fit for my business.''
Ms Martin, originally from Tasmania, persuaded Waller to come to Mowbray at the request of the Tasmanian Turf Club's new chief executive Bruno Calabro.
Waller named Black Caviar as the best horse he had seen, Darren Beadman as the best jockey and Gai Waterhouse as the best rival trainer.
He said that he had only ever set himself one goal and that would never change _ ``don't fail.''