Sydney’s premier trainer and reigning Group 1 champion Chris Waller has reportedly knocked back the lucrative top position for Darley Australia following the shock announcement yesterday that head trainer Peter Snowden was ready to step down.
Snowden’s decision to vacate the head trainer’s position for the giant worldwide thoroughbred operation shocked the Australian racing industry and the search for his replacement has already begun.
Waller has dominated the Sydney racing scene over the last few years collecting the last three trainer’s premiership as well and being the leading trainer of Group 1 winners last season with nine wins.
Waller is on his way for a fourth premiership and is already a tearaway leader with fifty-seven Sydney metropolitan wins to date, as well as eleven in Melbourne and six Group 1s this season.
But Waller was not fussed when questioned about his interest in the Darley job, initially offering no comment.
“No comment,” Waller told The Daily Telegraph.
Then added: “All I will say is it would be a dream job for somebody.”
Snowden will continue to head the Darley operation until the end of the 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival in May before setting up a training partnership with his son Paul who currently runs the Melbourne branch of the operation.
Snowden will meet with Australian Turf Club representatives in the near future to organise his stabling options in Sydney.
After releasing a statement yesterday verifying that Snowden would be leaving, Darley have confirmed that they will be looking for a local trainer to replace him.
“It’s going to be a local candidate rather than an overseas candidate,” Henry Plumptre, managing director for Sheikh Mohammed’s Australian operation told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“I was asked that question yesterday and I made the comment that I think there’s an abundance of local talent in the training ranks here.
“We’ll just have to try and find someone who’s a good all-rounder that we think can step up and take over some pretty big shoes.”
Plumtre said that the process for the appointment of their new trainer would be discussed by all levels of the Darley team with Sheikh Mohammed playing an active role in the decision.
“We’ll involve the overseas base very much because it basically involves Sheikh Mohammed and ultimately it’s his decision,” Plumptre said.
“He’s very involved with all of his racing operations around the world and this is a very big division, the racing division in Australia, so he’ll be taking a keen interest in this.”
Since taking over the reins of the giant Darley operation in 2008, Snowden has trained twenty-eight Group 1 winners with an unbelievable clean sweep of the two year old Group 1s in 2011.
And he has started the new season in fine style having produced three year old filly Guelph to win the Group 1 $400,000 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick as well as the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
The Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick as went to the Snowden trained three year old Complacent with Long John winning the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.