Group One-winning Australian trainer Chris Waller will attend The Queen’s funeral on Monday at Westminster Abbey.
The Royal Ascot-winning handler will join Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley at Westminster Abbey with senior UK politicians and heads of state from across the world expected to attend.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Albanese said that, on top of inviting Australia’s heads of state, Buckingham Palace had extended the invitation to 10 Australians for their “extraordinary contributions to their communities”.
They include this year’s Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott, Senior Australians of the Year from this year and last, Valmai Dempsey and Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, Local Heroes Shanna Whan, Saba Abraham and Kim Smith, Western Australian of the Year Helen Milroy, South Australian Young Australian of the Year Trudy Lin, i4give Day founder Danny Abdallah, and Waller.
The trainer is renowned for his handling of record-breaker Winx, winner of 33 consecutive races including 25 Group Ones, and he also sent out Nature Strip to land the King’s Stand Stakes at this year’s Royal Ascot meeting.
Waller currently trains Chalk Stream for the Queen and he told radio station 2GB that while his royal connection had been sparked by Winx, he had been in more regular contact regarding the ex-William Haggas runner.
“She’s got a horse with us called Chalk Stream and when that horse would race, I would get a request to give Her Majesty a call which is normal protocol for her horse trainers,” Waller explained.
“She just loves her animals and loves her racehorses and she’s very caring and so curious about what is going on with the horse. How are they training, their little quirks, their idiosyncrasies.
“She wants to know everything. It’s been a pleasure to be a small, small part of her later racing years but it’s not a matter of ringing up in the morning and saying ‘hi Chris how are you going?’.
“(She would ask) about the horse and how we train horses in Australia. Questions around the droughts and the fires and the floods. She was over everything. She loves Australia. She loves the people.”