April Cooper Living Her Dream at Chris Waller Racing: Week 4 Blog

Horse racing has been one of my biggest passions ever since I was a little kid. But being born in Bundaberg and living there my whole life, I didn’t think I would end up moving to Sydney to make a start in my dream career.

My family has no ties to the industry, but it was my mother who started my love for it. My parents would take me to the local racetrack whenever there was a race meet and I would always hassle them to take me to watch the horses in the mounting yard.

My earliest memories of watching some time-honoured races include the 2004 Melbourne Cup when Makybe Diva won her second in a row and the 2005 Caulfield Cup when Railings won. I remember my mum was wanting the Western Australian galloper Plastered to win.

Starting work placement at Chris Waller’s stables at Rosehill was very exciting, yet overwhelming. I had never worked at a race stable, let alone going to one of the biggest and most prominent stables in Australia, but it had always been something that I dreamed of doing.

We start work at 3:45 a.m. every Monday to Saturday morning with Sunday being a 5 a.m. start and we do that 13 days a fortnight. We also go back in the afternoon from 2:20 p.m. to 5 p.m. and we get three afternoons off per week. He has 148 horses in training at Rosehill every morning under a strict routine, so timing is key.

Getting to know all the horses is the best part of the job and being able to see and work with these well-bred and good performing racehorses is an amazing feeling. The most exciting part for me is seeing the progeny and siblings of horses of which I watched race as a child.

The one thing I was most looking forward to is being able to take the horses to the trials and strapping on race days.

I have gotten the opportunity of taking one horse to the Rosehill trials so far and it was a good learning experience. Last Saturday, I was able to take my first horse to the races at Gosford. I was paired with a 2-year-old filly named Catwalk who was making her debut. She ran on really well for second even though she was very green. She was very well behaved and affectionate and the perfect horse to take for my first time strapping.

I am really starting to enjoy the work more and more every day. The early mornings are hard but being with the horses and seeing what they achieve just makes it all worth it.