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.