Gai Waterhouse, one of Sydney’s premier trainers, is getting ready to make a multiple-horse assault on two of Australia’s most prestigious races, the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
Waterhouse, who was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2007, has enjoyed great success throughout her career as a trainer winning many of the nation’s elite races. This spring Waterhouse intends to add more Group 1 glory to her list of accolades and has both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup firmly set in her sights, two races that have as yet eluded her.
Currently she has three prime gallopers in preparation for the Cups with Group 1 AJC Oaks winner Once Were Wild, Descarado and Herculian Prince.
Three-year-old Johannesburg filly Once Were Wild secured a classy three length win beating the Bart Cummings-trained Faint Perfume in the AJC Oaks at Randwick in April, after which she was sent for a spell. The filly is now back in work at Tulloch Lodge and ready to challenge Faint Perfume again, this time in the Melbourne Cup, for which Faint Perfume is the current pre-nominations favourite.
Once Were Wild is expected to run first-up on September 4 in the Group 3 Tramway Quality Handicap (1400m) at Randwick before heading to Victoria for the Cup Carnival.
High Chaparral gelding Descarado also had an impressive autumn campaign that culminated in running second to Shoot Out in the Group 1 AJC Derby at Randwick. Descarado has been back in work longer than Once Were Wild with connections looking to resume his racing career at the end of August in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
Finally, Waterhouse also has consistent four-year-old Herculian Prince preparing for the spring, the ex-Kiwi gelding having had three successive wins in Sydney over the autumn. Herculian Prince’s start date is pencilled in as August 14 where he will run in the Group 2 JJ Liston Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Waterhouse’s best success in the Caulfield Cup was in 2006 when her mare Aqua D’Amore placed second. And, from her 12 Melbourne Cup runners to date she has trained two third placegetters with Te Akau Nick (1993) and Nothin’ Leica Dane (1995).
Held as part of Victoria’s coveted Spring Racing Carnival, the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) is due to run on October 16, while the 150th Melbourne Cup, worth a record $6 million this year, will take place on Tuesday November 2.