Chris Roots reports:
Gai Waterhouse has a reputation for moulding young minds; be they people or horses. She has the ability to make the right choices more than most, which is an endorsement of her new trainer partner Adrian Bott.
The pair have shared the training duties at Tulloch Lodge from August 1, and they share a birthday.
“I feel really comfortable with Adrian – maybe it is because we share a birthday,” Waterhouse said. “He is always asking questions and wanting to learn. There is something that made me feel he was the right one.
“Tulloch Lodge has been about Tommy Smith and Gai Waterhouse. Now it is Tommy Smith, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott. It has always been about winners and black-type winners and it will continue to be the same as before.”
There is the tradition of having the oldest stables at Randwick and the winners that have flowed from them. Smith produced an Australian-record 282 group 1 winners, while Waterhouse will finish on 134 in her own right, only behind her father and Bart Cummings.
“There are many more to come,” she boasted. “Nothing has changed, we are still training the same way, but this is about the future and continuing the winners to come.” The partnership had its first runner on Wednesday, Coonawarra failing to handle heavy ground at Warwick Farm to finish last. But winners aren’t far away and black-type success could start at Randwick on Saturday with Thronum, with two wins and a second from three starts, lining up in the Rosebud.
“He has won on a heavy track at Randwick before and I think it is the right race at the right time,” Bott said. “He was good even though he got beaten at Canterbury and continues to improve. He is a horse that we thought would get these sort of races and is capable of taking the next step.”
The Waterhouse-Bott partnership will also have Koroibete and Dark Eyes in the race after Thronum on Saturday.
“Dark Eyes was a strong winner last start, while Koroibete is having his first start for us and is going to get better as the distances get longer,” Bott said. The future belongs to those who plan for it and Waterhouse has been thinking about a succession plan since winning the Melbourne Cup with Fiorente.
“It has been on my mind for a few years, but I had to find the right person with the ability and sensitivity to take over at Tulloch Lodge,” she said.”[My children] Tom and Kate don’t have an interest in training, so I needed to find someone, and Adrian is the right person, I have known him since he was a boy.”
For Bott it has been a dream to work under, and now with, Waterhouse. He has had a strong grounding in racing, completing a year as a cadet steward at Racing NSW before finishing Darley Flying Start and starting work at Tulloch Lodge.
“In racing there is no one better to learn off than Gai and to have an opportunity to work in partnership with Gai Waterhouse is my dream,” Bott said. “When I was working at Racing NSW I realised my passion was in training and there was only one stable I want to go to and that was Tulloch Lodge.