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The Importance Of Being Gai

She’s like the unsinkable Molly Brown, but just far more of everything else and more including being unsinkable and unstoppable.

Of course by now we have come to expect what she does as something that should not be a surprise, but Lady Gai’s innate ability to keep on keeping on is something quite remarkable. 

It’s a very different and extraordinary force of nature.

Everything she does is special and it’s impossible to think of horse racing without Gai Waterhouse, and these days, the Waterhouse-Bott team and brand. 

As a firm believer in mentors and mentoring and extremely fortunate to have had a wonderfully creative gentleman named Keith Reinhard, below, guide me through all the booby traps and understand the tricks of the trade of advertising and marketing, I have never ever seen this same selfless way of sharing and teaching in anyone else other than Gai Waterhouse. 

I don’t think Gai has any secrets other than being an inquisitive human being with an intuitive mind and knowing the importance of surrounding herself with loyalists and probably seeing something of herself in those coming through the ranks with potential and needing to be shown a direction in life. 


Recently, I have seen just how much she has helped jockey Adam Hyeronimus to get back in the saddle, realise the importance of self-belief and enjoy riding winners again. Adam has never ridden better.

There’s then her longtime relationship with Tim Clark and the support she gives riders like Rachel King, Jordie Childs, Winona Costin and Reagan Bayliss whenever she can.


It’s, however, her partnership with Adrian Bott that is perhaps only now being seen for what it is- a real bona fide team. 

Adrian Bott has grown to be his own man, and, sure, he’s been extremely fortunate and privileged etc. But there comes a time when “privilege” only takes one so far, and there comes the time to deliver. 


This is when it’s the time to become equal opportunity partners and work for the good of the brand and what it brings to the game and look at what’s next for the game. 

Gai Waterhouse is serious fun to be around, she’s theatrical and with the astute wherewithal to know what’s working and what’s not and to speak her mind without fear. 


This is something extremely inspiring to those looking for some inspiration. 


She’s of course, the First Lady of horse racing and long may she run, and for someone like myself, who’s in two completely different industries and with very different priorities in life, what Gai Waterhouse has shown are  very important leadership qualities.


These have been born through experience, yes, but also through seeing who and what’s working and what’s not and why and making things happen by changing wheels before they fail off.


Too many in leadership roles these days are lost in predictability, surrounded by ineptitude and incompetence and a sycophantic media with that beast known as social media given everyone a voice.


Often, I wish that some of these supposed leaders could spend an hour with Gai Waterhouse and learn to Get Real. 


She real. Very real. And it rubs off on those fortunate enough to be around her.


As a sign off, I don’t see why horse racing in Australia can’t have a series of theme parks called Gai La La Land.


These will be huge and a fine legacy to the great Lady.

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