AT the Sydney racing inquiry trainer Gai Waterhouse berated owner John Singleton for intemperate language to threaten her career and that of her bookmaker son, Tom. She proceeded to strafe and possibly down her career with ill-chosen words.
Owners, trainers and jockeys are almost as crucial to the racing industry as gamblers. Waterhouse showed scant respect for her complementary industrialists when she said,
“It’s a trumped-up little jockey, a brothel owner and a footballer, and that’s it. That’s why we’re here, that’s what our livelihoods are swinging on in front of you today. They’re the people who are discrediting my son, my husband, and myself.”
Grammarians and advocates of indiscriminate language would bristle at little jockey, a reference to retired jockey Allan Robinson. But grammarians and the politically correct mostly have not the cash to buy racehorses. Ex-footballer and current TV commentator Andrew Johns has. So too do many professionals and business people who regard champion footballers and even jockeys highly, an esteem seemingly not shared by Waterhouse.
The brothel owner in question is Eddie Hayson, a big punter who reportedly owes Gai’s son Tom millions of dollars in gambling debts.
Football Immortal Johns sparked the affair by telling Robinson and Hayson the Singleton owned, Gai Waterhouse trained mare was “off” and could not win the All Aged Stakes at Randwick.
Jones, who said he got the info from Tom Waterhouse, has agreed to front the racing inquiry on Monday as has Robinson. Hayson has until Friday to agree to appear.
If he persists to dodge the investigation, Hayson is likely to be banned from every racetrack in the world, perhaps for life. That would be a heart-wrenching punishment and he does not need Gai Waterhouse belittling him on top of it.
The trainer reserved the unkindest cut of all for owner John Singleton. As well as telling her supposed mate of 35 years he should have shut up, she offered a comparison to explain the failure of his much loved mare More Joyous. “Maybe she’s a seven-year-old mare and she’s old – like you!” Waterhouse said.
She knows full well More Joyous (foaled 20 August 2006) is a 6-year-old. She probably made the intentional error to grab Singleton’s attention for the barb to follow.
Singleton is 71-years-old. Many racehorse owners are around that age, retired and having fun before they go forever to the spelling paddock in the sky. A lot of owners will take exception to that Waterhouse remark and I am sure chief steward Ray Murrihy will mention it in his summation.
It is ironic that Gai Waterhouse retained a dignified silence before the inquiry while Singleton and Tom Waterhouse traded verbal slings.
In one day at the inquiry Waterhouse has blown all her credits of public goodwill.
It would not surprise me to see her retire or vastly scale down her racing business. The Gai 58-year-old said too much.