Horse racing is a complex sport with many facets contributing to what can seem like a relatively short race. There are many people involved in creating a champion racehorse and often the partnership between trainer, jockey and horse is a key element to success. Jockeys like Scobie Breasley, Hugh Bowman and Damien Oliver are shining examples of greatness, but there is also much to be learned from the trainers behind the scenes who contribute to the successes of both horse and jockey.
Bart Cummings was a mainstay of Australian horse racing for seven decades, beginning with his first win in the mid-seventies, but if Cummings had heeded medical advice given to him relating to a severe asthma condition, the world of Australian racing would be very different today. Doctors advised Cummings at the tender young age of 16 to stay away from horses and chaff, but this young boy had a dream and nothing was going to keep him from it. By the end of his career, horses trained by Cummings won a total of 12 Melbourne Cups, 7 Caulfield Cups and 9 V.R.C. Oaks. It was his passion for horse racing and his commitment to excellence that elevated Cummings to his legendary status, not that we advise others to ignore advice from their doctors of course.
Winx is a horse that should need no introduction and the trainer who made her a champion shouldn’t need one either. Chris Waller arrived in Sydney only 20 years ago as an unknown in the horse racing industry with no family name or money behind him. Waller has attributed much of his success to conducting his training business with friendliness and integrity and working very, very hard. He began to make a name for himself at the Sydney Turf Club, collecting an increasing number of Group 1 winners which included Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman who ranked well in the Moonee Valley Cup odds and took out consecutive wins in both 2016 and 2017. Waller met Winx in 2016 and went on to win a world-record 33 consecutive races which included 25 Group 1 wins. Waller has shown nothing but dedication and commitment to his profession proving that working your way up is always a possibility.
Gai has been a powerhouse in the world of horse racing for decades now. She is regularly described as “the first lady of Australian racing” and with good cause. 145 Group 1 winners is an exceptional record to hold and that in itself shows that she is a force to be reckoned with. Waterhouse was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2007 and has long been considered a staple of the horse racing community. In terms of building her extremely successful career, Waterhouse combined traditions passed down from her father, another award-winning trainer, with her own innovations to become one of Australia’s top horse trainers. This clearly illustrates that there is wisdom to be taken from tradition but always room for new ideas.
There is much to be learned from the commitment and dedication it takes to be a successful horse trainer. The above examples are but a few from a very long list of people who have had a hand in the creation of champions.