Chris Waller has hit back at ITV Racing pundit and At The Races presenter Matt Chapman, who on Tuesday questioned the form of legendary Australian mare Winx.
At Tuesday morning’s Cox Plate barrier draw, Chapman mounted a case for Godolphin raider Benbatl, suggesting that the view abroad was that Winx had been beating ‘fairly moderate horses’ in Australia.
Waller, speaking on Whateley on SEN1116, took umbrage at the comments, suggesting they were disrespectful and labelling him a ‘bit of a d***head’ in the process.
“I’ve taken those comments in and I was very, very surprised and disappointed to the fact that I think he’s a bit of a d***head for saying it really,” Waller said.
“You’re in a foreign country, you [should] have a little bit of respect.
“You might go back and say it back at home, but you’re invited to be at a breakfast, sure you’ve got to speak your mind and things like that and maybe his comments were taken the wrong way, but it’s a bit harsh to say over the past four years, or three and a half years that she’s been winning, he’s basically saying every horse that she’s beaten is rubbish.
“Well that just puts a mockery on Australian racing, which is regarded as close to the best in the world and I’m sure our punters and followers of racing would be disgusted by those comments.
“For him to stand up and say that, it’s just utter nonsense. He’s just trying to make a name for himself and, maybe everybody is a bit different, but it’s pretty disappointing really.”
Winx on Saturday will target a 29th-consecutive victory – and 22nd Group 1 success – when she bids for a fourth-straight Cox Plate success.
— Stuart Riley (@StuartRileyRP) October 24, 2018
The mare is a raging odds-on favourite in the Cox Plate market, with Benbatl, who registered a third Group 1 success in the Caulfield Stakes on October 9, second in the betting.
Winx has had six starts in Melbourne for six Group 1 wins, while the 28 races that make up her winning streak range from the Group 2 Theo Marks Quality to the Group 1 Queensland Oaks.
“Winx does it on all tracks, she does it all distances, all types of races, from left-handed to right-handed, tight-turning tracks, heavy tracks, firm tracks,” Waller said.
“I think the fact with Winx is that she just does it every start, whereas the so-called horses he’s claiming that are the best at the moment turn up every so often and things like that.
“I think Winx might not be the best on some of those horses on the best of their day, but week in, week out she’s pretty consistent.
“There’ll always be unknowns and a few doubters, but I’m pretty happy with what Winx has achieved so far.”
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