CHAMPION Sydney trainer Chris Waller is keen to make Friday’s $140,000 Wagga Gold Cup (2000m) his own.
Waller got his first taste of Wagga Gold Cup success when he trained the quinella in last year’s event and it has driven him to return and make the race his own.
A funeral will prevent Waller from making his way to Wagga for the Cup but he is confident his two representatives, Trade Commissioner and Our Voodoo Prince, can make a mark.
“Races like the Wagga Cup are what racing’s all about,” Waller said.
“It’s a time where the community stops and the focus is on the races.
“It’s a very special moment just to have a runner in the race, let alone win it.
“Once I’ve won it now, you get that sense ‘that’s my race’ and you want to defend it.”
Trade Commissioner, last year’s winner will again lead Waller’s charge.
The seven-year-old import is owned by Wagga man Garry Towzell and Richard Pegum.
Waller believes Trade Commissioner, to be ridden by Blake Shinn, will take holding out.
“He’s been set for the race,” he said.
“Our horses always need a couple of runs to hit peak fitness and both have been good races, he just hasn’t had much luck.
“Hopefully he gets a little bit of luck and he’ll be able to rightfully defend his crown.”
There will be much emotion surrounding Waller’s second runner, Our Voodoo Prince.
One of Our Voodoo Prince’s owners, Ken Hunt, passed away last week and it will be his colours that Tye Angland wears aboard the United Kingdom import at Wagga.
Hunt was one of Waller’s big supporters and it is his funeral that the Sydney trainer will be at on Friday instead of attending the Wagga Gold Cup race meeting.
"I would be there if not for the funeral,” he said.
“Ken was a very close friend and Our Voodoo Prince will carry his colours.
“It will be quite sad.
“The horse has been in and out of form this prep but hopefully he can find his best (Friday).”
Also among Our Voodoo Prince’s owners is Murrumbidgee Turf Club director Brett Bradley.
He was among the ownership of Beyond Thankful, who ran second last year, and is also chasing a maiden Wagga Gold Cup win.
“It was such a huge thrill to win last year and obviously with a bit of a local presence among the owners, it's good to have two horses running again,” Waller said.
Both of Waller’s jockeys, Shinn and Angland, will be chasing their first Wagga Gold Cup success.
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