Stakes increase just the tonic, says Waller

THE INTRODUCTION of statewide prizemoney increases has been welcomed by industry players and premier trainer Chris Waller is, understandably, a huge fan.
Nanjing Night Net

”It is a massive kick for the industry,” he said yesterday.

”What other sport, business, in the current climate can increase returns by 22 per cent in one hit?”

Waller was referring to stakes money increases for metropolitan Saturday meetings, which rise to $85,000 from $70,000 this weekend.

The prizemoney increases kicked off yesterday on the country circuit, where they went from $10,000 to $15,000, which is an increase of 200 per cent since 2004 when they were at $5000.

”What it means for the owner is that if your horse wins a Saturday race it pays the training bill for the year,” Waller said. ”And you have a bit of change as well. Run a couple of seconds in a town on a Saturday and you pay the bill for the year.”

Ten years ago, Waller arrived in Sydney from New Zealand and set about chasing his dream. He knows the commitment owners make and is thankful for their continued support.

”The initial outlay for the horse is irrelevant,” Waller said. ”People have the money to pay for 2 per cent of a horse or the whole horse, they make a decision about that, but upkeep is the key.

”If owners can’t subsidise their hobby they are not going to reinvest, but now they will have the opportunity to reinvest in the industry.

Waller said his Rosehill complex charged an owner or syndicate $103 a day for each horse. He may ”not enjoy sending out bills” but Waller is ”not the dearest” trainer in town.

”It is a labour-intensive game and the costs have got higher, considerably higher over the last five years,” he said. ”With the economic downturn, the timing couldn’t be better to inject more money, more enthusiasm, back into the sport. I’ve got to put the fees up every couple of years, but we run a tight ship, we can afford to keep them down.”

Repeat business was a big concern for any horse trainer, he said.

”[About] 50 per cent of all horses are bread-and-butter horses. [Some] 20 per cent are above average and pay their way, 30 per cent are no good,” Waller said. ”Bread-and-butter horses need to earn as much money as they can so the owner gets a return. They are never going to win a Melbourne Cup, a group 1 race, but they must earn prizemoney.”

He said there had been renewed interest in the game since the prizemoney increases were announced.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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