Life On The Job

HORSE TRAINER   -  Gai Waterhouse (1954 - ?)

Gai Waterhouse


Gabriel Marie "Gai" Waterhouse (née Smith; born 2 September 1954) is an Australian horse trainer and businesswoman.

The daughter of Tommy J. Smith, a leading trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses, Waterhouse was born in Scotland but raised in Sydney. After graduating from the University of New South Wales, she worked as an actor for a time, appearing in both Australian and English television series.

Having worked under her father for a period of 15 years, Waterhouse was granted an Australian Jockey Club (AJC) licence in 1992, and trained her first Group One (G1) winner later that year.

In 1994, after her father became ill, she took over his Tulloch Lodge stable, and she has since trained over 100 G1 winners and won seven Sydney trainers' premierships. She was also the trainer of Fiorente, the winner of the 2013 Melbourne Cup, becoming the second woman (and first Australian woman) to train a winner of that race.

At Tulloch Lodge
Gai at Tulloch Lodge, Randwick, Sydney
Tulloch Lodge

Waterhouse was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2007, and has been described as the "first lady of Australian racing". (Source: Wikipedia)

Gai is former actress who became a racing superstar, training more than 100 Group 1 winners and achieving numerous other accolades on and off the track, including the rare honour of being named a National Living Treasure.
(Source: Women in Focus)



She was educated at the Kincoppal-Rose Bay School in Sydney, and completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of New South Wales in 1975.



Waterhouse made a name for herself as a model and actor, including in the Australian drama The Young Doctors before moving to England and appearing in the Doctor Who story The Invasion of Time. (Source: Wikipedia)

Did You Know?

Gai Waterhouse in Dr Who

Gai Waterhouse starred in Dr Who appearing with Tom Baker
in the late 1970s as the rebel timelord Presta.

(Source: SMH)

Gai quit the thespian life and joined the family business. In her teens she had picked up pocket money riding trackwork. On her return from England she worked as a clocker timing the track gallops, and involved herself in office work and client relations. (Source: Financial Review)

Training & Employment

In 1978 she met Robbie Waterhouse, who had followed his famous father Bill into the bookmaking business. Gai and Robbie were married in 1980. The wedding would not only unite two of the great houses of the racing industry but put a spoke in Gai's ambitions to follow her dad into the training game. (Source: Financial Review)

In the early 1980s Gai Waterhouse returned to Australia from overseas, where she had been a professional actor, and began working part time for her father, the famous horse trainer TJ Smith.  (Source: Platinum)

In 1984, both Rob and Bill Waterhouse were found guilty of having had prior knowledge of a race scam involving the ring-in Fine Cotton. Both denied the charges but both were warned off from racing worldwide for long spells. By then Gai Waterhouse was TJ's stable foreman.

Robbie Waterhouse encouraged his wife to take out a trainer's licence. TJ, concerned that racing was very much a man's world, wasn't so sure. His daughter would be following a tough act. Gai found support among senior members of the Australian Jockey Club committee only for them to later humiliate her by denying her application on the basis of her association with her banned husband.

In a landmark case that led to a change to the Anti-Discrimination Act known as the Waterhouse Amendment, she was granted a licence. In January 1992, Gai Waterhouse became a trainer.

Gai and Robbie Waterhouse
Gai and Robbie Waterhouse 2008

Her first winner was Gifted Poet in March 1992, and her first group 1 victory came in October that same year when Te Akau Nick won the Metropolitan Handicap. In 1995, with a fading TJ too frail to manage the empire, he passed on control to his daughter. Within a few years he was happy to declare: "She's better than me!" (Source: Financial Review)

For ten years she managed his publicity and promotions. Gai Waterhouse succumbed to horse racing, and studied under her father for 15 years as an apprentice, before obtaining her own license in 1992, and, in due course taking the title of Randwick's leading trainer.  (Source: Platinum)

Did You Know?

In Australia, the Australian Pattern Committee recommends to the Australian Racing Board (ARB) which races shall be designated as Group races. The list of races approved by the ARB are accepted by the International Cataloguing Standards Committee (ICSC) for publication by The Jockey Club (US) in The Blue Book, thus providing international recognition for Australia's best races.

There are four grades of Group races in Australia:

Group 1 - 64 races - minimum prizemoney A$350,000

Group 2 - 83 races - minimum prizemoney A$175,000

Group 3 - 112 races - minimum prizemoney A$115,000

Listed Races - 280 races - minimum prizemoney A$80,000
(Source: Wikipedia)

In the season of 1994-1995, her father became ill, and conceded the Tulloch Lodge stable to her.

Gai Waterhouse hit the big time at the Melbourne Cup in 1995, when Nothin' Leica Dane came into the race, just three days after winning the Victoria Derby. This was the first three year-old to have done so since Skipton in 1941.

In 2000 Gai Waterhouse was named NSW State Businesswoman of the Year in the annual Telstra Awards and in 2001 she made racing history by winning the trifecta in the Golden Slipper - the first time it had ever been done.

Gai’s business now employs more than 100 staff. Waterhouse equaled her father’s training record, by concluding the 2002/03 season with 156 metropolitan wins. Waterhouse continued to produce excellent results and by the beginning of 2007 she notched up her 75th win in Group One races for the Gai Waterhouse stable at Tulloch Lodge, and was also inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in November of the same year. (Source: Platinum)


Six days a week for the past 20 years Gai’s alarm has buzzed at 2.30am and she’s resisted the temptation, on even the iciest winter days, to snuggle up to her husband and have a ‘sleep in’. Australia’s first lady of racing has been ‘at the office’ since 4am looking after her business.

..."my business is very labour intensive – I’ve got 90 people on my workforce and everything takes a lot of people to do because we’re working with horses that have to be looked after.”

“The stable is a bit like having a boutique hotel because the horses come in, the boxes are made up for them and they’re fed, watered and cared for,” she says.

She has learned her ‘horse hotel’ operates most effectively with an occupancy rate of 120, which is big in Australia, but small compared to overseas markets – and Gai is selective about the ‘guests’ she takes in.

On top of all that she works with vets to keep her horses fit, studies breeding lines, searches horse sales for the next champion and writes a daily blog.  (Source: Women in Focus)

Gai with horses

YouTube: Gai Waterhouse on the 150 th Anniversary of AJC Derby



Gai Waterhouse - Website

Gai Waterhouse website

The Drum

The Drum

Newcastle Herald

Newcastle Herald


Platinum - Speakers

Women in Focus

Women in Focus


What makes a great Australian Horse Trainer?

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Australian Curriculum General Capability: Information and Communication Technology Capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

1. Investigate: "Who have been or are great Australian Horse Trainers?":

- Bart Cummings
Bart Cummings
Bart Cummings - Wikipedia

- Tommy Smith (TJ Smith) - Wikipedia
TJ Smith
(Source: Dinkum aussies)
- Parliament of NSW - Death of TJ Smith
TJ - A Tribute

- Lee Freedman - Freedman Brothers

Lee Freedman
(Source: Freedman Brothers)
- Wikipedia
- Gai Waterhouse
Gai Waterhouse

- Peter Moody

Moody Racing

- Colin Hayes - Wikipedia
Lindsay Park
Colin Hayes
Colin Hayes with the Cox Plate
(Source: Lindsay Park Racing)

- David Hayes

David Hayes
David Hayes (Source: Lindsay Park Racing)

2. What criteria makes a good horse trainer?

Number of horses who have won the Melbourne Cup?

The overall number of winners? Do they have to be Group 1 winners?

Consistent winners? Winners from year to year?

International Winners?

Amount of money won?

Any other criteria you think...?

Using the information from these Australian Horse Trainers, create a website with explaining what makes a great Australian Horse Trainer!




side 5

side bar

side bar


Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar


Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar


Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar


Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar


Jeweller side