Buying overseas is paying off for Chris Waller.
HE IS Sydney's premier trainer and has made an enormous impact on Australian racing since leaving New Zealand for his first hit-and-run raid here 14 years ago.
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But while he has won a stack of group 1 races, the now Rosehill-based Chris Waller has yet to taste success in any of Australia's big four - the Caulfield and Melbourne cups, Golden Slipper or Cox Plate.
Given his youth, his status, the size of his string and his ability to prepare horses, it's surely a matter of time before he etches his name on the honour roll of the great Australian events.
That might be as early as Tuesday, when he goes into the Melbourne Cup with his best chance in lively lightweight Kelinni, with late booking jockey Glen Boss in the saddle.
Kelinni won his way into the field by barging through the doors of the last-chance saloon in the Lexus Stakes on Derby day and the son of Refuse to Bend goes into Tuesday's marathon in tip-top form and rock-hard fit.
He looks a certainty to stay the demanding 3200-metre journey of the Cup and he handles the track, the ground and the big occasion, as he demonstrated admirably on Saturday.
The gelding will want for nothing by way of help from the jockey. Boss who won three Melbourne cups on the incomparable Makybe Diva.
Nash Rawiller, the man who rode Kelinni to victory on Saturday, believes he is a boilover chance.
Waller points to the colt's stout pedigree as evidence that the journey, so often an unknown for most Cup contenders, won't be an issue.
His dam Orinoco is by Darshaan, (trained by Alain de Royer Dupre, who saddles up Cup favourite Americain), who won over 2000 metres as a two-year-old before graduating to classic honours at three when he won the French Derby, the Prix du Jockey Club.
His pedigree and stamina potential are, in a nutshell, why Waller has been such an enthusiastic proponent of importing staying-bred horses from Britain and Europe.
Waller was one of the first Australian-based trainers to start importing gallopers from Britain to target distance races in this country. He reasoned that the paucity of Australian-bred stayers gave him a real chance of making an impact with tried horses who at least could run a trip.
While others bought at the high end of the market, Waller scoured the catalogues of the Newmarket horses in training sales for candidates at a relatively cheap price. Mostly these horses are four or five-year-olds. Kelinni was unusual in that he was bought as a younger horse and brought to Australia after his two-year-old season in Britain.
''We bought him as a two-year-old, it puts them at a big disadvantage when they get here, they are six months behind and at that time of a horse's life it's massive,'' Waller said.
''As four-year-olds they start to catch up. His pedigree is very stout, and his brothers and sisters have won beyond two miles, so there won't be a problem there.''
The Lexus win took Kelinni's earnings to more than $500,000, which shows the sort of return that can be had if the right horse can be found at a competitive price.
''We are getting close to 50 imports, and only one has not won,'' Waller said. ''We bought another eight this week. They haven't won yet, but I am sure they will be adding to the total shortly.
He doesn't believe in shelling out big sums, however. ''They are just bread and butter horses. We don't try and go there to buy a Melbourne Cup winner, we want Saturday [city] winners. The prizemoney is very good and that's what pays for the horses. Races like the Lexus [and Melbourne Cup] are a bonus.''
With 17 of the Cup field originating overseas, it's a trend that is not likely to change unless the Australian breeding industry does.