Gai Waterhouse has been in Queensland this week inspecting local yearlings nominated for the Gold Coast Magic Millions.
“They grow great horses in Queensland,” Gai said. “They’re terrific boned horses, they’re tough, there’s longer sunlight hours here, great ground to breed them, great pastures.”
For the past seven years, Waterhouse has visited the South East’s leading thoroughbred nurseries in the Beaudesert and Darling Downs regions.. The annual trip has been organised by Glenlogan Park manager Steve Morley.
“It’s a tremendous boost for Queensland,” Eureka Stud’s Scott McAlpine said. “The high praise she gives Queensland is great for the industry. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool.”
Waterhouse believes inspecting yearlings raw in the paddock is one of the keys to selecting a winner by witnessing first hand their development and growth patterns. “I can see in six to eight weeks, or sometimes three months, if they’re going to go whoosh which is what you want for the Magic Millions Sale. Or, if they plateau out or go backwards.
“I also like to see how they’re handled, the way the breeders feed them, how they treat them, what they think of them.”
Waterhouse was also keen to show off her first ever Melbourne Cup and is understandably still riding high after Fiorente’s sensational win. “It’s definitely one of my career highlights and it’s amazing how the public perceives me now.
“No one ever says ‘well done’ when I’ve won the Golden Slipper – I’ve done that five times. Or the Doncaster – I’ve won it seven times. But I win the Melbourne Cup once and everyone comes up and says, ‘I’m so glad you won the Cup’. I mean, it’s quite mind boggling how it registers with people.”
And, just maybe, she will find another Melbourne Cup champion in Queensland.
Gai Waterhouse flanked by Steve Morley (left) and Scott McAlpine