Gai Waterhouse Denies Melbourne Move After Cup Victory

By Emily Tatti on 8 Nov 2013
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There’s little doubt racing queen Gai Waterhouse is still celebrating after winning her first Melbourne Cup with Fiorente.  

While the now famous galloper came second in last year’s race, there were no thwarted hopes this year when six-year-old Fiorente dashed across the finish line ahead of other frontrunners Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos.

The victory is particularly special for Waterhouse, who was finally able to follow in her father TJ Smith’s footsteps.

The famous trainer, who dominated the Sydney racing scene for three decades, won the Cup twice in 1955 and 1981 with horses Toporoa and Just A Dash.

“The victory is particularly special for Waterhouse, who was finally able to follow in her father TJ Smith’s footsteps.”

Waterhouse worked under his tutelage for 15 years before gaining her trainer’s license in 1992.

Soon after, she took over his Sydney stable Tulloch Lodge, which has become synonymous with their horse-racing dynasty. 

Waterhouse, who is now the first Australian woman in history to train a Cup winner, agreed that her father would have been overjoyed by her triumph. ”I thought of dad … and how excited he would be,” she said after Fiorente’s win. ”It has been my burning desire to get this, and I have done it.”

In the meantime, she has had to quash rumours she intends to permanently shift her operations to Melbourne.

She already has a 20 box training base at Flemington, and she also recently bought an apartment in the city.

“I do intend to spend more time here,” she said, after being asked about a Flemington expansion. ”But I don’t want to have a big stable down here. One of the good things of having the boutique yard is that the horses all have to earn their brownie points to be here.”

It certainly seems unlikely Waterhouse would relinquish Tulloch Lodge, which her father referred to as ”God’s little acre.”

“It… seems unlikely Waterhouse would relinquish Tulloch Lodge, which her father referred to as ‘God’s little acre.'”

Back in the 1950s, he was so eager to gain the property he actually gazumped Sir Allan Potter, who was the chairman of the Australian Jockey Club at the time. Smith approached the stable owner’s widow with an offer, before returning that same day with £3500 in cash. Potter was not happy about the situation, and their quarrel went to court.  

In addition to historic Tulloch Lodge, Waterhouse’s Sydney portfolio also includes properties adjacent to Randwick racetrack.

Though much of the land facing the racetrack on Doncaster Avenue has been sold to developers, she has stubbornly retained her secondary stables in the area – Bounding Away and Tempest Morn lodges – which cater to at least 100 horses, suggesting, much like her father, that she is firmly attached to her Sydney headquarters.

While a move may not be on the cards any time soon, Waterhouse didn’t rule out another Cup attempt by Fiorente.

“Who’s to say he won’t come back and do it again?” she said, referring to next spring. “‘I just want to let the dust settle.”

About the Author

Emily Tatti is a writer and editor with a Bachelor of Creative Arts and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. She has a strong interest in the arts industry, and has contributed to publications such as Lip Magazine and Kill Your Darlings.

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  1. Laraine Denny said...

    Interesting article on Gai. I am delighted for her win. Congrats Gai! First Lady – Beautiful, she would have made her Dad proud!
    We, three of us, attended a Melbourne Cup Function at the Caxton Hotel in Brisbane and we took out a trifecta and I picked Fiorente to win.
    Made the Day! Hope Gai can take it out again next year. Yes, why move from the family Lodge. But a nice relax in Melbourne, my home town, would be just the thing after her triumphant win!

    November 12, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

    Reply

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