Category Archives: horse racing

Racing authority takes away Gai pocket money

Guilty trainer Gai Waterhouse is fined by $5500

Gai despite a broken Jack of Hearts

“Fail to report to the stewards any condition or occurrence that may affect the running of a horse in a race” sounds a serious offence.
Yet top Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse is found guilty of just that and fined $5000, a week’s pocket money for her. She was also found guilty of not writing horse treatment in her school notebook – the one with National Velvet on the cover. That cost her $500 so she might have to go a few days without a hair-cut.
The charges followed a problem with More Joyous before the running of the All Aged Stakes on Saturday, April 27. Easing favourite More Joyous ran second last. 
Before the race the mare’s owner John Singleton provoked the inquiry with a public blow-up against Waterhouse during which he said he had been told by three people the mare could not win. Singleton was fined $15,000 making him roughly three times as naughty as Waterhouse.
You would think Waterhouse would be grateful with the result – and perhaps she was – but she unloaded with a classic spray.
Not fair, she said about losing her pocket money.    
The whole hearing is unfair. I have been treated like a third-rate person and my family has been dragged through the mud, through the mire.’
Pretty dramatic that mud-and-mire business if a trifle redundant.
But of course the former actor is not a third-class citizen. She knows the Queen of The British Commonwealth, Elizabeth II.
‘Even the Queen says to her racing manager, “What is going on with Gai Waterhouse in Australia?”,’ Waterhouse told the inquiry on Monday, Australian time.
Waterhouse trains one of the Queen’s nags in Australia, or ‘Orsetraylya” as Royal Liz might call it.
The best riposte to that Waterhouse umbrage came from a Sydney lawyer who had represented former jockey Allan Robinson at an earlier stage of the inquiry.
Yeah that ol’ Queenie munching the Rice Bubbles.”Geezus Phil what’s happened to Gai?..Can we pardon her?” #racingincrisis@brentzerafa
No need for a pardon, New South Racing has almost given her one.
Gambling in Oz

Establishment bursts doors to take Civil War outside

Tom and Gai Waterhouse slug it out in Sydney  with John Singleton

Australian actor Gai Smith (now Waterhouse) was Presta in the Dr Who serial The Invasion of Time (1978)

Melbourne, observers say, is the Australian state capital most like London, a city of couth citizens. Paradoxically Melbourne’s establishment has aired its dirty linen in public more than its perennial foe, the brasher Sydney establishment. That was until the feud between the Waterhouses and the Singletons in old Sydney town.

To be accurate, it is only, so far, one Singleton but John is a dervish in a stoush so you can be forgiven for thinking there is more than one of him.
Singleton is also known as Singo, for those who  buy into  the myth of the lovable larrikin, as each of his six wives must have done at some stage. The wealthy race-horse owner said publicly 30-something bookmaker Tom Waterhouse had known Singo’s millionaire mare More Joyous could not win Saturday’s All Aged Stakes at Randwick. The bookmaker’s mother, Gai Waterhouse, trained More Joyous along with a brace of other Singleton-owned  neddies.
You could see where Singo was going with this which he aired at Randwick itself on Saturday’s big race day.  Just in case the inference was beyond those who had imbibed too much cool champagne or warm beer, Singleton elaborated. “It’s too much. It’s a conflict of interest.”
He sacked trainer Gai Waterhouse and removed seven horses from the stable on Sunday. Well he did not actually remove them himself but it sounds more dramatic that way.
On Monday, Tom Waterhouse said he was talking with his lawyers about defamation action against Singleton. Tom did not call him Singo.
Randwick chief steward Ray Murrihy wants to see the feuding parties at an official inquiry next Monday.
The media and the public are lapping it up. The media likes to call the Waterhouses “racing royalty”. But that is just cheap consonance, no drilling into national sentiment – Australia is not fancy enough to have Zeitgeist. Most of the public is not talking sides. The more literate are saying “a plague on both your horses”.
The Waterhouse racing royalty, on the paternal side, is actually bookmaking royalty – not much consonance there.
The first king bookie in the family was Charles Waterhouse, who took out a licence in 1898. Son Bill and Grandson Robbie continued the family business. Tom is the son of Robbie and Gai Waterhouse, herself the daughter of legendary racehorse trainer Tommy Smith.
In 1984 Bill  and Robbie lost their bookmakers’ licenses for 18 years when it was found they had “prior knowledge” of the Fine Cotton ring-in when a superior horse was substituted for an inferior one.
The ring-in was a bit of a shambles when, as soon as the substitute horse Bold Personality won, a few people were racing up and down Eagle Farm racetrack screaming “ring-in”. It had the earmarks of a classic double-sting. There was no suggestion the Waterhouses had a part in the ring-in, only that they knew it was on and forgot to tell anyone.
Anyway, Robbie was able to survive the 18 years on his savings and whatever slings his wife Gai, a successful trainer, gave him.
Robbie has a significant financial interest in his son’s bookmaking business, mainly conducted through the internet. Tom Waterhouse, unlike his Dad and Grandad, is not licensed by Sydney racing authorities. His book is registered in the Northern Territory.
We are talking serious money here. Tom ponied up a photo of his book on the All Aged Stakes which he said showed a $300,000 worse result on the winner All Too Hard than if “mum’s horse” – a favourite expression of Tom the son – had won.
He said he had “backed” More Joyous. What he meant by that is unclear. What we do know is that Waterhouse did declare before the race he would “take on” the second favourite All Too Hard. Taking on “All Too Hard” is not quite the same thing as backing More Joyous. The relative outsider Rain Affair was narrowly beaten in the race. How much would Waterhouse have won if that horse had got up?
Owner Singleton is not short of a dollar. He said he was going to put $100,000 on More Joyous until three mates whispered in his ear on the day of the race that Tom Waterhouse had told them it could not win. Of course, Waterhouse strenuously denies this, hence the lawyers.
Singleton maintains Gai Waterhouse never told him the horse had received treatment during the week before being cleared by stable vet Leanne Begg. But More Joyous was also cleared to run by Singleton’s vet John Peatfield. Was anyone telling Singo anything before his three mates saved him a hundred grand?
The answer to this and other fascinating question may or may not be revealed at Monday’s inquiry.

Our song needs no intro…

Does anyone do the viz anymore?

BERNIE’S Best Bet – our fun Twitter tipping service – selects Dash for Viz at lovely Flemington racetrack in Melbourne today.
Dash for Viz is a a 5-year-old gelding by Dash for Cash out of Miss Academic.
The horse is splendidly named, as Dash for Viz  meets the sublime naming criterion of reflecting the monikers of sire and dam.

Viz dashes
Dash for Viz is by the mare Miss Academic and the name reminds me of my days in halls of higher learning.
Academics would dash towards a Latin phrase or word when an English equivalent just would not do. Latin abbreviations were gold.
Entering university, I had barely come to terms with Agatha Christie’s pesky Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and his annoying habit of peppering his speech with French mots. Incroyable!
Reading academic texts, I now had to grapple with a new set of odd expressions, viz words such as viz.
The word crept into the English language in the 16th century.
Viz is the abbreviation of the Latin word videlicit, which means ”namely’’.
The British hoi-poloi long ago punted viz from their everyday lingo. This was as good a reason as any for the academics to hang on to it as a mark of respect for their esoteric knowledge.
            You may recall some of the other favourite Latin shorts: ibid, op cit, et al.
The academics when citing some of their fellow travellers would list authors in the fashion of Dot Kansas, Red Ragger et al.
Et al stood for “and others”. I always wondered if this was done to save space or to tell the reader the als were not of any importance. I would have been offended if I was an al.
Contemporary uni students should be able to tell us whether academics do viz anymore. If the academics have ditched it, we commoners should consider reclaiming it.
‘I am having lunch with the girls today, viz Trudy, Judy, Lucy and Pippa.’
Or ‘I’m having lunch with the girls today, viz smoked salmon and mango jus.’
There is nothing wrong with a dash for viz, as long as we do not all do it at once.

Here is our celebratory song to complement the name Miss Academic

Aussie bookie bets 12-1 for odds-on favourite

Description: horse Chantilly

French Oaks

Single Bets 

BEAUTY PARLOUR     13.00                    1.80
KISSED                         23.00                   5.00
TROIS LUNES             101.00                21.00
BEST OF ALL                   1.80              101.00
Each Way Terms: 3 places 1/5 odds
OO-la-la! Punter’s Dream. Odds in red are what Sportsbet put up for some horses in the French Oaks and at right are the correct odds.

IT is every punter’s dream and it finally happened.
Australian online bookmaker put up the wrong odds for the French Oaks run at Chantilly racetrack on June 17, 2012.
Sportsbet installed the 100-1 shot Best of Allas odds-on favourite and the short-priced favourite Beauty Parlour at 12-1. Second favourite Kissed (4-1) was put up at 22-1 with win or each-way betting allowed.
It was a bungle which might have gone down in the legal and ethical text-books. What would a punter do if they discovered the juicy odds about the hot-pots? An astute gambler could have backed the two favourites each-way and thrown in a smaller bet each-way on 20-1 shot Trois Luneswhich was posted at 100-1. Would the bets pass legal muster if the punter had a big collect at the wrong odds?
Queensland author and journalist Bernie Dowling discovered the error 38 hours before the running of the French Oaks, the €1 million Prix de Diane at Hippodrome de Chantilly, north of Paris.
“It was the first day of my free international tipping service on Twitter,’’ Mr Dowling said.
“It’s a fun thing to promote my novel, Iraqi Icicle with the second edition due late this year.”
Mr Dowling decided tipping into the French Oaks was a plan so he did what a journalist or seasoned punter would do, searched the internet for form.
“I found stories on the entries of billionaire owner the Aga Khan and top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien but I couldn’t find a thing on the false favourite, Best of All,” Mr Dowling said.
He found the unbeaten Beauty Parlour was highly regarded and stumbled across a betting market – though not from a bookie – which had that filly at odds-on.
“I suspected both this market and Sportsbet’s were wrong and the correct odds on Beauty Parlour were somewhere in between, so I had a small bet of $5 each way on the filly.”
Ploughing on with the research, Mr Dowling found the source of the wrong Sportsbet market and then one by the delightfully named European bookmaker
“I knew Paddy would have it right.”
Here was an ethical quandary with possible legal ramifications.
“Oddly, it did not cross my mind to have a real go each way on the first and second favourites.
“It was not for legal reasons; I believe the epic struggle between punter and bookie should be fought on high moral ground.”
What did cross that punter’s mind was tweeting the error.
“What a start that would have been to my international tipping service.
“I have only a handful of followers as I don’t believe in manipulating a following on Twitter.
“But I am sure my tweet could have gone mini-viral among punters who mould have scrambled to see what their own bookie was betting.”
“But once I had decided the right thing was to tell Sportsbet, I could not tweet their mistake before I contacted the bookie.”
Mr Dowling was particularly disappointed he was unable to tell one follower, a journalistic colleague who gave him the idea of a punting service.
“She has tipped me a couple of winners on the pacers. I suppose those tips will dry up now.”
Mr Dowling rang about the error and within minutes the Oaks betting market was suspended.
The Queensland author is left with another dilemma to sort out.
“The main character in my novel Iraqi Icicle is Steele Hill who has been banned for life from all Australian racetracks for his minor role in a race fix.
“I am wondering if I should revoke the ban as a reward for my good dead.”
Mr Dowling admitted not every punter would see it as a good deed.
“It’s a tough call. The bookie always has the house percentage over you. Through an honest mistake, Sportsbet put the odds massively in favour of the punters. It will be interesting to find what others would have done in my shoes.
Sportsbet informed Mr Dowling his $10 bet on Beauty Parlour at 12-1 would stand.
His Twitter tipping service continues each Saturday from 9am, Aus EST. Visit