Gai Waterhouse joins the Hall of Fame legends

Horse Racing News
Gai Waterhouse joins the Hall of Fame legends

On Thursday night, legend status was bestowed on Gai Waterhouse in a Hall of Fame ceremony in Perth.

News Insights

  • Father and daughter now legends
  • Waterhouse already has 4 Group 1's this season
  • Clarry Conners, Bob Peters and Frank Treen Snr join the hall
  • Miss Andretti, Emancipation and Baguette the horses inducted

Thursday night was a special one for Gai Waterhouse. An inductee in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2007, she was elevated to legendary status this week. The first lady of racing is still firing in the winners at 71 with her training partner Adrian Bott.

Established in 2001, the Australian Horse Racing Hall of Fame has quickly grown to the prestige expected from a similar thing in any other sport worldwide. There is always talk across the chatrooms and betting sites on who should be inducted in any particular year. Still, very few will disagree that promoting Gai Waterhouse to legendary status is the right thing to do. 

Like father like daughter

There are now nine legends in the Hall of Fame after Thursday's ceremony. It is incredible then that two of them are father and daughter, two of the most outstanding trainers Australian racing has ever seen.

Waterhouse has some way to catch her father when it comes to Sydney premiership titles, having won the champion trainer seven times so far in her career compared to her dad's 33 straight years from 1953 when he was the most dominant force in the industry.

The Group 1 contest named after him has been won on three occasions by Waterhouse, the winningest handler in the contest's short history. Run at Randwick in April, the TJ Smith Stakes has been won by Black Caviar and Nature Strip, with I Wish I Win claiming the crown in 2023. 

Smith was one of the very first class to be inducted in 2001, getting elevated to legend status in 2012. 11 years later, his daughter was brought to that same level in the hall, a remarkable achievement for one of the most famous families in racing.

Partnership with Bott flying

Only three months into the 2023/24 season, Waterhouse's partnership with Adrian Bott has already landed a string of Group 1 successes. They first combined in 2016 as joint trainers and have had tremendous success since.

Bott knows all about having a famous father in racing - his dad, Tony, has been a top breeder for a long time, so it was no surprise that his son went into racing. Still in his mid-thirties, Bott has got himself one of the most coveted jobs in racing, but he is capable of holding his own and will no doubt be a very successful trainer in his own right when he strikes out on his own.

Other 2023 Hall of Fame inductees

Three horses and three individuals had their inductions on Thursday night. The horse front was led by sprinter Miss Andretti, who took Royal Ascot by storm in 2007, blitzing the King's Stand field that included Takeover Target and crack European sire Dandy Man, who was runner-up to her. 

The other horses to take their place in the hall were Emancipation and Baguette. Emancipation was trained by Tommy Smith, which added a nice touch to the night and won six Group 1 races. Baguette landed the 1970 Golden Slipper among his 15 wins before retiring to stud. Clarry Conners, Bob Peters and Frank Treen Snr also completed the 2023 ceremony as they entered the Hall of Fame.

Gai Waterhouse has been a fixture of Australian racing for decades. Taking out a license in 1992, she took over Tulloch Lodge from her father, Tommy Smith, two years later and has continued the incredible success story there. A rise to legendary status is not before time.

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