High Stakes, Paul Kennedy




When it comes to racing, the name most Australians associate with the racetrack is Waterhouse. This is their compelling story.
HIGH STAKES tracks the story of the Waterhouse dynasty – from the early years of the colony to Bill Waterhouse’s introduction to the bookmaking world as a sixteen-year-old, working as a ‘penciller’ (writing betting tickets) for his father in the late thirties. From that moment his future was clear. He went on to make money both on and off the track – and created headlines during the notorious Fine Cotton affair in the eighties. It examines Bill’s son Robbie’s rise as a respected bookie and a knowledgeable judge of horses, to his spectacular fall, as a result of that same Fine Cotton affair, which led to a life ban from involvement in the racing industry. The ban was lifted in 2001, but Robbie keeps a low profile these days.

 As Kennedy reveals, the same cannot be said of Robbie’s wife, Gai, daughter of the legendary horse trainer TJ Smith. In a male-dominated world, she has gone on to rival her father as one of Australia’s best trainers, training horses for a star-studded clientele that has ranged from John Singleton to the Queen of England.