Although Gai Waterhouse was part of a famous Australian racing family, her road to success was not an easy one.

Her first twelve years in the racing industry were spent working alongside her father, T. J. Smith, at Randwick’s Tulloch Lodge. Her application for a trainer’s licence was at first refused by the AJC; only after a protracted legal battle was she able to begin her own career in January, 1992.
Three months later she prepared her first winner, and in October, 1992, her first Group winner when Te Akau Nick took out the Metropolitan Handicap. Her first classic winner came with Nothin’ Leica Dane in the 1996 Victoria Derby. In 1996-97 she had 10 Group 1 victories, won the Sydney trainers’ premiership, and became only the third trainer in history to record more than 100 winners in a Sydney season.

She was to win six more Sydney premierships, with her achievement of 156 winners in 2002-03 equalling the record set by her father T.J. Smith.

Included in her 114 Group 1 wins are six Metropolitan Handicaps, seven Doncaster Handicaps, four Epsom Handicaps, the training of all three placegetters in the 2001 Golden Slipper, and a fourth Golden Slipper in 2012. In 2013 she won the Melbourne Cup with Fiorente, thus becoming the second woman (and first Australian woman) to train the winner of the Cup.

Waterhouse has been honoured with the VRC and Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners’ Association Archer Award for outstanding achievement and contribution to the racing industry. In 2000 she was voted the Telstra NSW Business Woman of the year.

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