Skip to main content
Picture: Nature Strip (

Chris Waller’s 7th Successive Horse Of The Year Award And Tenth Successive Champion Group 1 Trainer Title

Following a season which saw him finally win The Everest before taking his tally of Australian Group 1s to eight with victory in the Darley Sprint Classic at Flemington and the Furphy T J Smith Stakes at Randwick, Nature Strip capped a stellar campaign when he conquered the world in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot (UK) in June.   

The coronation brought up a remarkable seventh straight success for Waller-trained horses, following previous wins for Winx (2016-19), Nature Strip (2020) and the 2021 Australian Racehorse of the Year recipient Verry Elleegant, who finished second in this year’s award behind her stablemate.

Waller’s success did not end there, with his stable accepting the awards for Champion Sprinter and Champion Stayer, won respectively by Nature Strip and last year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup heroine Verry Elleegant, whilst he was presented with the Bart Cummings Award as Australia’s Champion Group 1 Trainer for a remarkable 10th straight season.

The man who piloted Nature Strip and Verry Elleegant to their 2021-22 successes, James McDonald, was also honoured as the Champion Group 1 Jockey for a second year running.

The closest contest of the night came in the Champion 3YO Colt or Gelding category, with James Cummings’ magnificent colt Anamoe just edging out the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained warrior Hitotsu by 164 votes to 159.

Hitotsu outscored his rival by three Group 1 wins to two last season, but the breathtaking manner of Anamoe’s victory in the Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas may just have swayed the voting panel, made up of racing media and handicappers from each state and territory.

The Champion Middle Distance Award went the way of Annabel Neasham’s stable star Zaaki, who cruised to victory in the Group 1 Paramount+ Stakes at Flemington last spring before returning in style in the autumn to claim The Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile at the same venue.

Other award winners were Gary Portelli’s flying filly Fireburn (Champion 2YO); David Vandyke’s Channel 7 Queensland Oaks winner Gypsy Goddess (Champion 3YO Filly); the flying grey Saunter Boy, who took out the Champion Jumper Award for the Maher and Eustace stable and Yarraman Park’s I Am Invincible who was crowned Champion Sire.

The votes for the finalists in each category of the 2022 Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards were as follows:

Australian Racehorse of the Year

  1. Nature Strip (189 votes)
  2. Verry Elleegant (114)
  3. Incentivise (46)
  4. Hitotsu (36)
  5. Anamoe (20)

Champion 2YO

  1. Fireburn (210)
  2. She’s Extreme (78)
  3. Sheeza Belter (46)
  4. Best Of Bordeaux (32)
  5. Daumier (31)

Champion 3YO Filly

  1. Gypsy Goddess (117)
  2. Fangirl (99)
  3. Startantes (57)
  4. Hinged (52)
  5. Barb Raider (33)

Champion 3YO Colt or Gelding

  1. Anamoe (164)
  2. Hitotsu (159)
  3. Home Affairs (59)
  4. Mazu (44)
  5. Artorius (4)

Champion Sprinter

  1. Nature Strip (219)
  2. Eduardo (94)
  3. Home Affairs (71)
  4. Forbidden Love (25)
  5. Lost And Running (12)

Champion Middle Distance

  1. Zaaki (111)
  2. Think It Over (86)
  3. Incentivise (81)
  4. Anamoe (68)
  5. Duais and State Of Rest (both 36)

Champion Stayer

  1. Verry Elleegant (198)
  2. Incentivise (116)
  3. Hitotsu (75)
  4. Duais (42)
  5. Montefilia (4)

Champion Jumper

  1. Saunter Boy (70)
  2. Heberite (38)
  3. Vanguard (15)
  4. Flying Agent (12)
  5. Britannicus and Elvison (both 9)