Chris Waller has had a very clear plan for staying events in Australia over the past few years, very few have been locally bred with a vast majority coming from the UK.
It’s a strategy which has brought him plenty of success, but not one he’s gone out and done on his own.
Owner Richard Pegnum is a man who’s come along for the ride and his strike rate with picking a good one over the last 12 months has been impeccable.
Pegnum is the man behind the find of the autumn My Kingdom Of Fife as well December Draw.
Both horses won on their debut runs in Australia and My Kingdom Of Fife went on with it all the way to Group 1 level.
While Pegnum doesn’t have the biggest of teams he sure knows how to pick a good one.
“I’ve got a total of four, two in Australia which we have now and two racing back in England,” he said.
“We’ve been fortunate so far we’ve got two out of two.”
He says while luck obviously plays its role when picking out a new talent, there are a couple of keys areas you need to look at to separate a good local horse from a horse that would be good back in Australia.
“You’ve got to look at the racing of the horse, you’ve got to look at their action, that’s very important,” he said.
“A lot of the horses that come over are far to dower and can’t handle the hard tracks.”
My Kingdom Of Fife had one of the most incredible runs this year winning three in a row before just getting edged out by Scenic Shot in the Doomben Cup.
He’s just starting to get ready for the spring though and is expected to be a big player for the stable.
“We’ve just brought him back, he’s in pre-training, we’ll have him ready in September or October,” Pegnum said.
While many were excited about his chances as a Melbourne Cup runner, Pegnum says he’ll get the 2400m but he’s not convinced about the 3200m.
“I think he’s definitely a Caulfield Cup horse, probably not a Melbourne Cup horse,” he said.
“‘I’m just not sure if the horse is bred for two miles.”
My Kingdom Of Fife won his first race as an 150 to 1 chance on track so when December Draw lined up there were never going to be that king of odds on offer.
He was still well and truly a roughie though and once again it was a win which wasn’t expected.
“The horse wasn’t ready to win that’s for sure,” Pegnum said.
“He’s very exciting, the horse we beat by five lengths came out and won the Ipswich Cup.”
While Pegnum says he’s been fortunate to pick the right horses, he’s also been fortunate with the weather patterns around Australia this year as well.
“In the last 18 months we’ve had a lot of rain again, the tracks are really suiting these horses as well,” he said.
“In England when tracks get hard they scratch their animals, in Australia when tracks get wet we scratch our animals…we’re breeding two different types of horses.”