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Gai Waterhouse | Gai Waterhouse Adrian Bott

adrian bott

Growing up at historic Segenhoe Stud, Adrian Bott was surrounded by thoroughbreds, so it was no surprise he always wanted to be part of the world of racing and breeding and has worked hard with this aim in mind. At just 29 years of age Adrian Bott was given one of the most coveted positions in Australian, if not international racing when he became co-trainer with the incomparable Gai Waterhouse.

For more than 60 years since being established by Gai’s father, the late T.J. Smith, Tulloch Lodge, at Randwick, has been a place where legends are made. Named after the mighty Tulloch, the stables were also home to such stars as Redcraze, Gunsynd, Blazing Saddles, Mighty Kingdom, Lowan Star, Kingston Town, Red Anchor, Bounding Away and Star Watch during T.J.’s era. During Gai’s years the likes of Nothin’ Leica Dane, Dance Hero, Grand Armee, All Our Mob, the courageous Desert War, Pharoah, Tuesday Joy, More Joyous, Pierro, Fiorente and Vancouver have graced Tulloch Lodge.

Gai, who has an association with the Bott family going back several decades, only needed Adrian on her work force for two and a half years to realize his potential. To be acceded such a rare privilege, especially for someone so young, is a tribute to his thorough grounding in the horse industry. This began with his father Tony at the famed Segenhoe Stud. After a diversion to university, his journey continued through a year on the Racing New South Wales stewards’ panel to a Darley Flying Start scholarship and then to Tulloch Lodge.

The situation became even better when the combination immediately clicked. Within days they had their first stakes winner and in a matter of weeks the partners had registered two Group 1 successes with the Star Witness filly Global Glamour. Adrian believes sharing of the burden and responsibilities of dealing with large numbers of horses and even larger numbers of owners is a key factor in enabling a stable to prosper.

Adrian’s interest in racing was fostered by going to early meetings at the then new racecourse at Scone, which was opened in 1994. Although Adrian believed his future would be in racing, his parents persuaded him to attend the University of Sydney and he elected on doing a course in the faculty of architecture. During the years Adrian was at university his father began racing, in partnership with some of Evergreen’s South African clients, the smart Royal Academy (USA) gelding Royal Discretion out of Gai’s stable. A winner of the AJC South Pacific Classic-Gr.3, STC Darby Munro Stakes-LR and Hawkesbury Guineas-LR in the 2007-08 season, he went on to capture the MRC Moonga Stakes-Gr.3 and to finish third behind Danleigh and Light Fantastic in the AJC All-Aged Stakes-Gr.1 in 2009. That year Adrian joined Racing New South Wales as a cadet steward. His ambitions led him to applying for, and being selected, to undertake the two-year Darley Flying Start Scholarship.

As well as being a brilliant introduction to the thoroughbred industry, the Darley Flying Start course extends into finding places in the business for graduates. Upon graduation Adrian was put in touch with Bruce Slade, who was Gai’s racing manager at the time. He was told a position had just become available at Tulloch Lodge as an assistant racing manager. From the time Adrian joined Gai he was soon across all aspects of the business. This revolved around starting in the yard at 3 am, mixing feeds, walking horses in the stable and at the track and then doing office work outside of stable hours.

He entered Gai’s training establishment as the careers of superstars More Joyous and Pierro, both winners of more than $4.5m, were coming to a close but before long Fiorente and Vancouver were rising to the heights. After finishing second to Green Moon in the VRC Melbourne Cup-Gr.1 in 2013 at his first start in Australia Fiorente went on to score a comprehensive win from Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos the following year.

By then, Vancouver was on his way to glory following a brilliant performance in the ATC Breeders Plate-LR. He went on to capture the ATC Canonbury Stakes-Gr.3, Todman Stakes-Gr.2 and Golden Slipper Stakes-Gr.1 before being retired to Coolmore. Quickly appreciating Adrian’s talent Gai further expanded his horizons by sending him to spend time at the Keeneland and Florida stables of Wesley Ward, who was an Eclipse Award winning jockey before becoming a trainer. On June 16, 2009 Wesley became the first United States-based trainer to win a stakes race at Royal Ascot when Strike The Tiger won the Windsor Castle Stakes. The following day he scored an even more important triumph when Jealous Again powered away to a five-length win in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.

It was not long afterwards that the most treasured opportunity of all came along when Adrian was offered the chance to become Gai’s co-trainer. The combination started together on August 1, 2016 and within six days their first winner came up in stakes company, when Thronum, by Snitzel, won the ATC Rosebud-LR. But that was before Global Glamour emerged. A $65,000 purchase by James Bester for the It’s All About Girls Syndicate at the 2015 Magic Millions, the filly won the Group 1 ATC Flight Stakes at Randwick just eight weeks late. Then seven days after that she accounted for her rivals in the MRC 1000 Guineas-Gr.1 at Caulfield.