Gai Waterhouse and Ian Craig at the Golden Slipper Barrier Draw at Rosehill Racecourse, Sydney. 15th March 2016 Photo: Janie Barrett Photo: Janie BarrettWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
Gai Waterhouse labelled charges against her and training partner Adrian Bott over the switch of horses at trackwork as, “totally unacceptable, so incredibly severe, unnecessary and certainly unfair”, at a Racing NSW inquiry on Tuesday.
Racing NSW stewards charged Waterhouse and Bott with conduct prejudicial to the image and interests of racing after inquiring into why three horses scheduled to work were changed without notice at the breakfast with the stars at Randwick last week.
Waterhouse and Bott didn’t plead to the charge, rather immediately asked for an adjournment to seek legal advice on the matter.
They were charged after Stampede, Sort After and Fabrizio were sent out in the places of Serena Bay, English and Debonairly and in their silks and saddlecloths for public gallops at Randwick on April 4.
“To think you have called us in here today over this [matter] I find it totally unacceptable, so incredibly severe, unnecessary and certainly unfair,” Waterhouse told stewards after being charged. “I can’t believe you didn’t just give us a warning.”
Waterhouse said “she was one of racing’s greatest advocates”, which Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel agreed with, saying “no one underestimates what you have done for the industry”.
However, they differed on the seriousness of the horses being substituted for the track gallops. It was a term that riled Waterhouse from the outset of the inquiry.
“Substitution [of horses], I take great expectation to that word, because it suggests something sinister, or we were out to deceive people,” Waterhouse said at the beginning of the 90-minute hearing.
Waterhouse admitted the stable had been wrong to send out different horses to those published on the gallop list. She apologised on numerous occasions during the inquiry and told stewards it would not happen again.
But she didn’t offer a reason why the club was not notified of the changes and why horses went out in the silks and saddlecloths of the advertised horses.
“I thought the show must go on. I would rather send out horses than have four scratchings because there were people there to see horses and I don’t think it is that serious,” Waterhouse said.
She later added: “This has happened many times before with lot of trainers using gallop slots with different horses. We didn’t want to let anyone down.
“We made a mistake and we won’t make it again.”
Tulloch Lodge made the decision not to gallop English, Debonairly and Serena Bay because of minor problems at 3.30am on the morning of the gallops.
English had a sore eye, Debonairly a sore foot and Serena Bay a muscle enzyme problem. But Tulloch Lodge decided not to give up the four slots for course-proper gallops, which were restricted to horses running in group races the following Saturday.
Van Gestel asked Waterhouse why she didn’t tell anyone of the changes in the three hours between the decision and the gallops.
“I was busy getting 150 horses worked. We were very busy as we always are,” Waterhouse said. “We didn’t think about it.
“We didn’t go out to deceive anyone. The horses weren’t even working that fast because the track was so wet.”
Stewards pointed out that a number of tweets were sent by members of the media identifying English and Serena Bay as working together. Bott countered by saying the ATC tweet had correctly identified Fabrizio during the morning.
The inquiry will recommence on a date to be fixed.
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