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GAI WATERHOUSE: A GROUP ONE WINNER IN LIFE


Spring might be in the air and it’s there to be seen in the quality of the racing and horsepower, plus there’s certainly a spring in the steps and strides of team Waterhouse and Bott.



In fact, their steps are so full of spring that there are sunshine and lollipops popping up from under wherever the duo walk by.


Lady Gai Gai aka The Legend, and a wonderful and timeless cheerleader always endorsing, not just horse racing, but how to have FUN by being part of the caper, had quite an incredible day at Randwick on Saturday along with Adrian Bott.



Their Big Day Out was wrapped up when Rachel King didn’t let anyone down when she gave her all to get the stable’s Just Fine home.



What’s always impressed this writer is the great lady’s incredible loyalty to the team she chooses to build around her and which always comprises young talent- everyone from stable staff to the roster of riders.


This has been seen over the past few decades. This year, we have seen how much support she has thrown behind Adam Hyeronimus, below.



After taking a hiatus from race riding, the still youngish jockey returned to race riding in a low-key role and hit the ground running for his former boss.

Whether it was his idea or not, Adam Hyeronimus eased himself back into the game by riding and winning on the provincial tracks in NSW before it not taking long for him to make his presence felt on the metropolitan tracks.


He’s now back and very much part of Team Waterhouse-Bott as are, as always, Tim Clark, former jockey Neil Paine, cameos by Nash Rawiller, pictured below, Damien Oliver, who recently won for the team on Alligator Blood, Joao Moreira and Regan Baylis.



Waterhouse-Bott is a well-oiled machine and which on Saturday at Randwick was in full flight by training the first three placings in the third race with the winner ridden by Blake Shinn, and placings for Baylis and Hyeronimus.


There were separate winners on the card for Waterhouse-Bott runners ridden by Tim Clark, Adam Hyeronimus and the coup de grace by the very very good Rachel King’s win aboard Just Fine.


Not to take anything away from Adrian Bott, but he’s in an enviable position to be working with and learning under the tutelage of this incredible lady who really deserves to be honoured by being given a Damehood.


What she’s given racing in Australia is immeasurable and surely the unveiling of The Gai Waterhouse Foundation to honour newcomers to racing must be around the corner.


This is 2023, there’s a post pandemic malaise hanging over the world, and the racing game needs a complete overhaul including new wagering and media landscapes while understanding that new online laws are just a shot away.


Horse racing can’t afford to continue being stuck on whatever Elon Musk is calling Twitter today.

It’s not a good ‘look’ and hardly a great calling card for a gambling driven business model to attract new partners, global consumer brands and being seen as a likeable product.


Just as the Hong Kong Jockey Club has a Charities Trust, perhaps this is something that can be part of other racing clubs?


The Charities Trust in Hong Kong is where the idea is to have a separate entity that “gives back to the community”, something that has still to be completely understood despite the recent HK$5 billion initiative known as- wait for it- The Institute For Philanthropy.



As for Gai Waterhouse, of course, she has her detractors.


Some think she’s rather theatrical and a tad foo foo.

Personally, I find her entertaining, savvy and certainly knows the lay of the land and who and what matters.



Having spent some quality time with her and her support system in husband Rob, none of what anyone thinks or has to say matters.



One can’t please everyone all the time and as long as horse racing has Gai Waterhouse, it’s in a good place and with room to manoeuvre. It doesn’t become a one trick pony.


Gai brings a distinct sense of style and panache to the game that often tends to go walkies and over the precipice.



With her long shadow looking over the racing, it helps one turn off listening to massive dollops of empty sounding chest pounding and dismiss the natterings of those who have always tried to grab a free ride on the coattails of others and have never succeeded.



As for a Damehood for Gai Waterhouse, it’s certainly got my vote.



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