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Waking up to a Gai day…and about bridging the generation gap.

The generation gap certainly has the right people thinking.

Often, things happen for a reason, and it’s not everyday that one wakes up at 3am in Hong Kong and has somehow tuned into TABradio in Perth and is listening to something from months ago when Diggers and Marty were interviewing one of my favourite ladies- Gai Waterhouse.

Who ARE my favourite ladies, anyway, other than my mother and Auntie Prim- who are both in the great beyond?

Possibly my ex wife, but there’s no consistency there. Maybe Ms Bullock. Perhaps…

What makes Gai, or Lady Gai Gai special is, sure everything she has achieved, most of which I didn’t know about until Mr Google gave me the answers as I’m not a true blue racing person.

The first horse I ever became a fan of was Silver who the Lone Ranger rode whereas the first jockey I ever met was apparently someone named Ted Fordyce.

I say, “apparently” because I was a baby when that meeting took place and Mr Fordyce was the champion jockey of Ceylon where I was born- an Australian rider nicknamed “The Railwayman” and who I learned much about from George Moore over lunch in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is also where I met Gai and Rob Waterhouse for the first time. It was at the club called Adrenaline at Happy Valley and soon after I had created the Happy Wednesday brand for the HKJC.

It was the same night I met Joao Moreira, Michelle Payne and the rather fabulous Francesca Cumani and her flat beige shoes.

Since then, I’ve met Gai and Robbie about 5-6 times and what I have always enjoyed is being able to pick up from where we last left off.

They’re terrific company- extremely knowledgeable and humorous and their own best friends.

What I have always enjoyed is that here is a couple with inquisitive minds. It’s a great double act with Rob being quiet, smiling to himself and taking it all in and Gai being her gregarious self, and sometimes, or often, throwing out the crumbs and see who bites- and how and why.

As a journalist who has interviewed many in the entertainment world- Scorsese, Lennon, the Stones etc- and become friends with a few, Gai Waterhouse is a great subject and someone who has done more for horse racing than anyone else I know.

Me, I am trying to understand horse racing’s business model in 2024, and its constantly changing wagering and media landscapes, where it’s seemingly all about online platforms and ‘live’ streaming and boutique everything including “boutique horse racing” as we enter the new abnormal of a post pandemic world with much being asked and not many with answers.

Maybe Gai can help?

After all, she’s extremely charismatic and entertaining- and intuitive enough not to suffer fools gladly and has the balls to question those who cannot lead- but who still pretend they can.

Diggers and Marty approached Gai cautiously and with the respect she deserves and she answered everything with a straight bat along with some priceless asides.

As always, she knew when to wrap things up and the importance of polite control over one’s time.

One thing I would advise those interviewing Gai Waterhouse is not to “do a Barbra Walters” and try to make her tear up.

If she’s going to be emotional, it’s going to be on her own terms and when something really matters.

Moving on…

Gai is someone who is guardedly flippant and with the absolute confidence not to be anyone other than who she is.

Why bother?

Personally, she transcends horse racing as she is her own brand and it’s an extremely popular and exclusive brand.

It’s not the superficiality of “influencers” seen these days on places like Instagram flaunting whatever they think they might have.

They usually have nothing except for maybe rabid insecurity and a terminal fixation with wealth and show touches of being a future Howard Hughes or Nora Desmond.

These people have much to learn from Gai Waterhouse about being the real deal and InstaGai.

Meanwhile, time waits for no one and I am off to discuss with some friends why there is this thing called a “generation gap” and, more to the point, why this gap hasn’t still been filled in and we carry on in a very splintered world led by those who cannot lead.

Gai Waterhouse has been leading the charge when it comes to the Australian horse racing world for decades.

Does anyone mention her when mentioning a generation gap?

As said earlier, Gai Waterhouse transcends horse racing…and she is timeless.

At a time when the pastime or sport or game of chance needs to attract the new- especially those new business partners who can be persuaded to take things further and bridge that great divide of a generation gap, there’s Gai- and the baton she’s getting ready to pass to Adrian Bott.

Maybe one day very soon, there might even a virtual Gai and team and everything this advancement can introduce to the world?

Everything is possible once you know what works- and who can look beyond the obvious.


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