New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame's two youngest inductees - jockey James McDonald and trainer Chris Waller - combined for historic first Melbourne Cup victories with champion New Zealand-bred racemare Verry Elleegant last week.
The dynamic Kiwi duo, both based these days in Sydney, Australia not only shared Melbourne Cup glory but also swept riding and training honours over the Cup carnival with James additionally becoming the most successful jockey ever over the four-day event, compiling a record 10 wins.
The gifted 29-year-old hoop also dominated with four Group 1 victories over Cup week while 48-year-old Chris Waller produced seven winners, remarkably all in tandem with James McDonald including three Group 1s.
Chris Waller has taken all before him since shifting to Australia in the early 2000s with nine Sydney trainers’ premierships already on his belt. He became the youngest NZRHOF inductee in 2018 but was superseded for that title by his 19-year's junior compatriot at this year’s gala event.
James McDonald has likewise dominated the Sydney jockeys’ premiership in recent years since moving across the Tasman in 2013, since landing four titles. Last season he became only the third jockey in history to ride 100 city winners there in successive seasons.
NZRHOF’s board of directors are extremely proud of both inductee’s ongoing successes and join all other New Zealand racing industry participants in congratulating them on their outstanding recent results.
- Paul Moroney for NZRHOF