Leading trainer Chris Waller’s imported stayer Finche has finished fourth to be the first Australian-trained horse home in the Melbourne Cup.
And the champion Sydney-based trainer also prepared the first Australian-bred galloper to finish in Tuesday’s race at Flemington with sixth-placed Youngstar.
English-bred Finche, who did his early racing in France, arrived in Australia on a shipment of spring campaigners at the end of September.
Along with stablemate Shraaoh, who won earlier on Tuesday’s Flemington program, Finche endured a 60 hour trip to Melbourne from Europe before undergoing quarantine at Werribee.
The trip to Australia included a 24 hour stopover in Sharjah resulting from a cracked windscreen.
After leaving quarantine for Waller’s yard, Finche went to the Geelong Cup where he finished third behind the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained pair of Runaway and Northwest Passage.
Waller said Finche produced a terrific effort on Tuesday but was six months away from being a furnished product.
“He’s still very new and six months away from being an Australian horse,” Waller said.
“But he gave us a taste of next year’s race (Melbourne Cup) and everything I would say would be set towards that.
“Zac (Purton) did a great job from the draw and had he of had a better barrier he may have been able to come with a well-timed run.”
Waller said Finche would now be spelled and allowed to acclimatise to Australian conditions.
The trainer was also full of praise with the effort of Youngstar who improved on her seventh placing in last month’s Caulfield Cup.
Like Finche, Waller said the mare was six months away from reaching her full potential.
“She looked good with the saddlecloth on but under that she’s only a shadow of where she’ll be in another six months,” he said.