VRC Crown Oaks 2016 hope to make debut

Lawyer-turned-horse trainer Cheryl Roberts is used to working with Chris Waller’s superstars but now she might have a Group One contender of her own.

Just Victoria will make her debut in a 1400m maiden handicap at Warwick Farm on Wednesday and Roberts hopes she can go all the way to VRC Oaks at Flemington on November 3.

The filly was a $30,000 yearling selected by her husband, prominent vet Tim Roberts, who focuses on type when choosing horses.

Roberts has three horses in work under her name and pre-trains a further 40 for Waller at the couple’s Boynton Park farm on the NSW south coast.

Waller-trained stars including Zoustar, Boban, Hawkspur and champion mare Winx have spent time at the property.

“We had Winx as a two-year-old before she had won a race,” Roberts said.

“They start off, I get them going nicely and then they go off to bigger pastures.

“Having said that, I’d rather not have the responsibility once they turn into super Group horses.”

Waller’s wife Stephanie is a part-owner of Just Victoria and also has a share in the Roberts-trained Divajeu who ran in last year’s Gimcrack Stakes.

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Chris since he started off with six horses,” Roberts said.

“He’s very kindly given me some support as well and Stephanie’s come on board.”

Roberts has had a handful of runners since taking her licence out almost two years ago.

She trained Chuchoter to wins at Benalla and Goulburn last year and intends to maintain a small but high-quality team led by Just Victoria.

“If she’s not good enough for the Victorian Oaks then she’s not good enough for me,” Roberts said.

“I don’t have time to potter around in the provincials because I’m just so busy working on Chris’s main horses.”

While Just Victoria is an unknown quantity ahead of her debut the trainer has high hopes for the Magic Albert filly.

“I’ve put a lot of groundwork into her,” Roberts said.

“She’s had quite a few months to get fit. She’s hard and she’s ready to go, I just hope she’s fast enough.”

Roberts’ journey to training horses started in the 1970s when she and her husband moved to South Africa.

There she combined running his vet practice with working with thoroughbreds.

“I did quite a bit of pre-training over there and I subsequently found out it’s in my blood,” Roberts said.

“I come from a long line of horse people.”

After they returned to Australia she studied law and worked in a leading Sydney firm before returning to her true passion.

“I’m back doing what I always loved doing – and I hate paperwork,” Roberts said.

 

Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au

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