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Waller nominated for Halberg Award

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Expat New Zealand trainer Chris Waller has been nominated for Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year at February’s 56th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards in Auckland.

The Hall of Fame trainer, who is among 14 nominees for the award, has won the last seven trainers’ premierships in his adopted home of New South Wales and has risen to prominence of late through the deeds of wonder mare, Winx.

The darling of Australian turf has won 29 consecutive races, 22 of those at Group One level, including four Cox Plates (2040m).

Waller was honoured by his compatriots earlier this year when he was inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

The nominations for Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year include: Allan Bunting (rugby), Chris Waller (horse racing), Clark Laidlaw (rugby union), Dale Stevenson (athletics), Eugene Bareman (mixed martial arts), Jason Pocock (surf lifesaving), Jeremy McColl (athletics), Joe Schmidt (rugby union), Kiwi Campbell (waka ama), Leon Birnie (football), Marcelo Lopes (mixed martial arts), Raylene Bates MNZM (para athletics) and Roly Crichton (para swimming).

The 56th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards will be held on Thursday February 21, 2019, at Spark Arena in Auckland and televised live on SKY SPORT from 8pm.

Melody Belle pleases in trial

Triple Group One winner Melody Belle pleased her connections with her 1000m trial win at Te Aroha on Tuesday.

It was the second trial this preparation for the four-year-old daughter of Commands who was freshened after an undefeated spring campaign, where she won the Gr.2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) fresh-up, followed by Group One Successes in the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and Windsor Park Plate (1600m).

"We were pleased with how she trialled at Matamata, and she’d trained on well since then," trainer Jamie Richards said.

"She’s trialled well again and everything is on track. She did a bit in the trial, and they ran time, but she had a blow and that will tighten her up nicely."

Melody Belle will be set for more elite level targets this season, with the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s day the first on her hit-list.

"She’s a bigger, stronger mare now and handling her work really well," Richards said.

"The two weeks freshen-up after winning three in a row through the spring has done her the world of good and we can push on with a bit of confidence."

Media Sensation set for more black-type

Group One-winning filly Media Sensation will head to Ellerslie on Sunday for an exhibition gallop ahead of her next black-type assignment at the Auckland racecourse on Boxing Day.

The Peter and Dawn Williams-trained runner has pleased her connections since her victory in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) win last month and is set to line-up in the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) later this month.

"Media Sensation is down to have a gallop at Ellerslie on Sunday and she’ll head to the Eight Carat, most probably," Peter Williams said.

"I couldn’t be more happier with her. She has come through the race perfectly. She hasn’t missed a beat since she has been home, I’m very happy with her."

Media Sensation has only had the one previous run at Ellerslie, winning the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) in October.

Eight Carat likely for House of Cartier

Regally bred filly, House of Cartier, is on a black-type path after impressing trainer Nigel Tiley with her victory over 1400m at Counties last week.

The daughter of four-time Group One-winning mare Shez Sinsational could line-up in the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day if everything goes to plan.

"It’s important that we get some black-type for her," Tiley said. "I honestly believe on her last run that she is definitely up to it.

"I’m going to look at the Eight Carat. I’ll nominate her and have a look at the field. As long as I don’t think it’s beyond her, I’ll probably take that path with her.

"I think she has got a bit going for her."

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