Like many punters who talk through their kick, I used to be a jury out on Chris Waller, but watching the way he has stepped up to the plate and lead the whole racing industry over the past fortnight my verdict is absolutely in, and it is that he is a great man who could and should become the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
While everyone else in racing – particularly the leaders of the Principal Authorities around the nation – is running around like a chook with its head cut off and impersonating lemmings as they grapple for a cogent response to the COVID-19 crisis, Winxy has, unprompted, calmly stepped forward and become the leader of the Australian thoroughbred world.
What a leader he is too.
Waller tells it like it is.
He says racing’s in dire straits. The social aspect is gone for the time being. No-one can go to the races except those who have to. There’s no argument about it, that’s our duty as citizens he declares, and quite rightly too.
Our duty as custodians of racing is different though Winxy tells us. We need to keep it going, for its a sport that can’t stop and start and pause. Over a hundred thousand Australians depend on racing, their wages put food on they and their family’s table. Shut down the sport and you are shutting them down too is what Waller is telling us.
We can keep racing going is Chris Waller’s message, and we have to. He spells out the myriad of businesses and industries that tack on to racing, and at the end of it you are left in no doubt that racing on is must.
Then Australia’s best trainer turns JFK, and asks not what our country can do for racing, but what racing can do for our country.
Be responsible is Waller’s answer. Take responsibility, for yourself, for your industry, and for your country. Look after your health, wash your hands, respect the guidelines that the Government has laid out and work within them at all times. Do that and we can keep this great sport going; don’t and you let us all fall down.
Failure is not an option. Winxy doesn’t say it, but he doesn’t need to. Its the rhyme in his every word, and I believe him from the core of my heart.
If he was born at a different time, the champion trainer would have been sitting at the winning Allied war table with Blamey, Monash and McArthur. There’s no World War right now, so instead Waller is leading the racing army in a crazy war against fear. He’d doing with aplomb too.
This man should be the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
One day I reckon he will be.