1 December 2023

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott: Legend Status

Gai Waterhouse: A Legendary Figure in Australian Horse Racing


A perfect blend of experience, flare and unrivalled passion mixed with drive, discipline and determination is the perfect summation as to why the Waterhouse and Bott team are on top of the Australian racing industry in 2023. Led by charismatic pioneer Gai Waterhouse and joined in partnership in 2016 by rising trainer Adrian Bott, the team’s success has incrementally grown over the last 8 years. In the last two seasons specifically, they have been a dominating force in the Australian thoroughbred industry.

Here we introduce you to the Waterhouse and Bott team, as well as highlighting their greatest triumphs on track with some of the greatest horses Australia has ever seen.

Meet Gai Waterhouse

The daughter of one of Australia’s greatest-ever trainers in T.J Smith, Gai Waterhouse was destined to be successful. However due to a number of hurdles faced early in her career, her hard work, exuberance and dedication to racing will mean her legacy as a trainer will be far more influential than once thought. The world’s greatest female trainer, a pioneer in the industry and one of the most successful trainers in Australian history since her first season in 1992. Submitting her training license request in 1989, Waterhouse was discriminated against due due to a variety of societal issues and fought all the way to the High Court to be admitted to the Australian training ranks. The publicity surrounding the case meant that upon her successful appeal, she became one of the leading ambassadors for Australian racing, succeeding with her very first runner on a track.

Gai’s exploits then on are legendary. The greatest ever trainer of two-year-olds. A record 7-time Golden Slipper winner and equal record 7-time Doncaster Hcp winner. A Melbourne Cup winner, Caulfield Cup winner, who has been successful 154 times at the highest level. For all the success Gai has had, her philosophy of training is very simple. Fitness and toughness are crucial, and if the horse can be balanced and carry its momentum it will perform to its highest ability. In 2023 Waterhouse will receive the highest racing honour, when elevated to legend status in the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame, joining her famous father.

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott

Meet Adrian Bott

Raised at the historic Segenhoe Stud near Scone, the horse capital of Australia, Bott initially was pushed in the direction of further education where he studied at the University of Sydney, before pivoting back to racing, working at Racing NSW as a cadet steward, before being accepted into the Darley Flying Start. Upon graduating Bott was put in touch with racing manager Bruce Slade who notified him of the vacancy of the role of assistant racing manager at Waterhouse’s Tulloch Lodge. At this point in time, the team was at its highest point in this millennium with champions the likes of Pierro and More Joyous in the stable, shortly followed by the arrivals of Vancouver and Fiorente. Within only 2 and a half years. Waterhouse realised the potential Bott would serve as an enthusiastic, driven and highly meticulous employee. Since joining the partnership in 2016 the team’s success has grown each season, highlighted by an outstanding recent season in 2022/23 and their best start to a season ever in 2023/24.

The Training Stables

In addition to Tulloch Lodge, Gai & Adrian train out of Tempest Morn Lodge, Farnan Lodge, Bounding Away Lodge, Desert War Lodge, and Sugar Rush Lodge which provide direct access to Randwick Racecourse. The stable also obtains 24 boxes at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne and has arrangements in other capital cities so that horses are positioned to achieve the best results.

Record-Breaking Achievements

Highlighted by the success of Farnan in the 2020 Golden Slipper, the team as a combination has combined for 24 Group 1s including 6 in 2023. Resident stable war horse Alligator Blood responsible for 6 of those 24 top flight victories. The team have achieved well over 1000 winners since their amalgamation at a strike rate of 19%. In the 2022/23 season, the team broke their prizemoney record when reaching over $19M for their owners and 4 Group 1 winners. In the 2023/24 season, the team already have 3 individual Group 1 winners and is training at a career-high strike rate of 23.3%. Looking at 2023 individually the team has had 694 starters for a partnership-high 161 winners at a strike rate of 24% and there are still 10 weeks of racing left in the year.

Alligator Blood winning the Underwood Stakes

Notable Horses Trained

As a partnership, the team has been led by charismatic gelding Alligator Blood who has accounted for 6 of the team’s Group 1 winners, most recently in the Might and Power Stakes. However, the highlight of the partnership was undoubtedly the 2020 Golden Slipper when the team combined for their 1st Slipper winner and Gai’s 7th overall when Farnan won convincingly. The team has also won some of Australia’s classic Group 1 races with Knight’s Order in the Sydney Cup, Converge in the Randwick Guineas and the Australian Derby with Majorbeel.

In the pre-Bott era, Gai won well over 100 Group 1 races, training Champions such as Pierro, More Joyous, Sebring, Grand Armee, Fiorente, Nothin’ Leica Dane and Desert War among a littering of others.

Pierro – One of the Greatest 2YOs of All Time

Contributions to the Industry

Australia’s first lady of the turf, Gai Waterhouse is set to make history as she joins her late father, the great Tommy Smith in receiving the highest possible accolade of being elevated to Legend Status at the Australian Racing Hall of Fame ceremony.

In her stellar career, Gai has reached incredible heights with three NSW Training Premierships, seven Sydney Trainer’s Premierships and multiple industry awards. In September 2000, Gai was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for “outstanding contribution to thoroughbred racing” and in October 2018, inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

In 2021 Gai was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and is one of only three racing entities across the nation to be awarded this distinguished title. Gai also topped the poll of nominations in the year of her recognition as a National Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia.

Throughout her training career Waterhouse launched the successful careers of many of Australia’s best jockeys including Tommy Berry, Nash Rawiller, Tim Clark, Adam Hyeronimous and Rachel King.

Current and Upcoming Endeavors

Waterhouse and Bott’s team is growing in confidence. The team already has a variety of 2-year-old options including Sovereign Hill heading down the Golden Slipper path. The team also has a variety of 3-year-olds led by the likes of Ganbare, Raf Attack, Jon Bon, Les Vampires and Tropical Squall targeting autumn riches following the conclusion of the spring carnival.

Gai and Adrian’s development as a partnership is founded on the success, passion and dedication to the industry that Gai has shown for almost 50 years. The experience and attention to detail of the team have shown clear evidence as to why the team has been so successful and recent results and accolades for the team reflect those achievements and hard work.

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