Gai Waterhouse – Being a trainer of thoroughbreds is not necessarily an automatic path to fame and fortune.
Being a trainer of thoroughbreds and choosing that path by following a famous parent makes it even less so.
Being a trainer of thoroughbreds and having that famous parent be the legendary T.J. Smith makes it entirely possible to be completely crusedh beneath the weight of enormous expectations that come with the territory, but not only has Gai Waterhouse survived those obstacles, it is she who is the crusher rather than the crushed.
She has seemingly escaped the fate to which many with a famous parent has succumbed be it horse, jockey or trainer.
It could be argued that Gai Waterhouse, through her marriage into the Waterhouse family added an additional facet of pressure, but she seems to have taken that in stride as well. She also is due credit for crashing gender barriers that have persisted in racing since time immemorial.
When we last checked on her in 2011, her resume was already well beyond impressive and she has continued her pace or even increased it.
In the past two years she has added over $25 million to her prize money tally, several hundred race wins and placings and an additional 26 Group 1 victories.
By any significant account, total victories, prize money or prestigious wins, she passes muster beyond doubt.
A look back at her career sees her supplying the winner of the 1992 Metropolitan Handicap via Ta Akua Nick. She left no doubt as to her abilities in 1995 when she narrowly missed that year’s Melbourne Cup with three-year-old Nothin’ Leica Dane that would have been the first of that young age to win in a race that typically favours more mature runners and had not been won by a three-year old since 1941’s Skipton.
Nothin’ Leica Day finished a close second on that day and it required no less formidable of a triumvirate than Doriemus ridden by Damien Oliver and prepared by Lee Freedman to deny Ms. Waterhouse and her horse.
The following season produced the first Sydney premiership to go with ten Group 1 wins. Gai Waterhouse trained the first three finishers in the 2001 Golden Slipper Stakes. From there she would continue to accumulate premierships, adding a fifth in the 2004-05 racing season, which surpassed her father, T.J. Smith.
Gai Waterhouse can claim the remarkable statistic of having trained no fewer than 10 horses that have won on at least 10 occasions and 10 that have produced over $2 million in prize money.
In a statistic that is sure to warm the cockles of any punters heart, Gai is capable of supplying winners that pay good odds, too. She has supplied many that crossed at 5/1.
Gai Waterhouse was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2007. Quite a rise considering that the AJC at first refused to grant her a trainer’s license and was able to launch a career apart from her father only after a prolonged legal battle that did not conclude in her favour until 1992.
With the ink not yet dry on her career, it is not hard to conceive of Gai Waterhouse leaving a mark on the record books that will place her in the highest ranks of the top echelon of thoroughbred trainers that have ever participated in preparing horses for the turf.