Within the Australian horse racing industry, pedigree is critical to having continuing success. Of course, that doesn't apply to just the horses as evidenced by the successful career of one of Australia's all-time great thoroughbred trainers, Gai Waterhouse. As the daughter of Australian Racing Museum & Hall of Fame trainer, Tommy J. Smith, Waterhouse had the beginnings of being a great trainer from the very beginning of her career.
The Early Years
Gai Waterhouse was born Gabriel Marie "Gai" Smith on September 2, 1954 in Scotland. As a young girl, her family moved to Sydney where her father became one of Australia's leading trainers. She completed her college education at University of New South Wales in 1975 and immediately set out to pursue a career as a model and actress. After spending two years pursuing her dreams, she returned to Sydney to work as an apprentice trainer under her father's mentoring. After 15 long years learning the trade, she finally took out her own Australian Jockey Club (AJC) license in 1992.
Though there is little doubt her career benefited by her connection to T.J., Waterhouse was determined to make a name for herself and began growing a powerful stable. It didn't take her long to land her first Group 1 winner - Te Akau Nick in the Metropolitan Handicap - which took place during her first year in the game. By 1994, her father had taken ill and she stepped in to take over his Tulloch Lodge stable. She immediately gained a reputation for going beyond the limits of convention in 1995 when she entered a 3-year-old named Nothin' Leica Dane into the Melbourne Cup just 3 days after winning the Group 1 Victoria Derby. When the horse finished second, the Australian horse racing industry realized she was a trainer with a great future. The following season, she won a total of 10 Group 1 races on the way to winning her first Sydney Premiership, a training title.
Over her career, Waterhouse has received numerous accolades for her accomplishments on the track. Aside from the Sydney Premiership she won in 1996, she would go on to win that same title in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. In a remarkable 2002-03 season, she equaled her father's record for winners in a single season with 156. In 2010, she won the Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup with Descarado and finally won her first and only Group 1 Melbourne Cup in 2013 with Fiorente. This was the first time in the Melbourne Cup's rich history that the victory was claimed by an Australian woman.
For a trainer who has won more than 100 Group 1 races in her Australian racing career, Waterhouse has not been a stranger to controversy. The first issue took place when she applied to the AJC for her training license in 1992. At that time, she was held under extra scrutiny because her husband Robby had been banned from Australian racing due to his involvement in the infamous Fine Cotton "ring-in" scandal that took place in 1984; he was reinstated in 1998. After she was initially being denied the license, the ruling was finally overturned. In 2013, Waterhouse was publicly humiliated when horse owner John Singleton fired her on national television because of comments her book making son had made about his horse prior to a Group 1 race. Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding that race, the stewards eventually held her accountable under two serious charges and levied a fine.
When horse players look for horse racing tips or free racing tips in Australia, they almost always receive reliable information related to horses trained by Waterhouse. These horse racing tips or free racing tips in Australia are available throughout Australia and the United Kingdom at local tracks, bet shops and online race books.
This article was written by John Hawthorne. As a big fan of horse racing, John considers himself half an expert in the field and also considers himself a great source for Aussie horse racing tips.
Image courtesy of Wiki Commons.