Gai wins Cup with Fiorente

| November 11, 2013
Gai Waterhouse wins her first Melbourne Cup

Gai Waterhouse wins her first Melbourne Cup

Gai Waterhouse and Damien Oliver have combined to win the 153rd running of the Melbourne Cup with favourite Fiorente at Flemington.

Oliver won his third Cup after holding up Fiorente in the straight before letting down the favourite to win the race by three-quarters of a length from English stayers Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos.

It was a first win at the Melbourne Cup for the popular trainer Waterhouse while it has been a remarkable comeback by Oliver, who only returned to racing in September after he was suspended for 10 months for betting on a rival horse.

An excited Waterhouse praised Oliver for his ride.

“Didn’t he ride him a treat! Honestly and truly,” Waterhouse said.

“Got back to about 12th. It was quite a solidly run race. Then he just kept trekking up and trekking up. It was just fantastic. It was a dream come true. I’m so thrilled.”

An emotional Oliver said it was an honour to be involved in the first Cup win for Waterhouse in front of a crowd of 104,169.

“I’m so rapt that I could be a part of Gai’s first one,” Oliver said.

“She’s done so much for racing. It’s a great honour for me to help bring her home her first one.

He said Waterhouse supported him as soon as he returned from his suspension.

…he just kept trekking up and trekking up. It was just fantastic. It was a dream come true. I’m so thrilled.

“Gai was one of the first people to really get behind me when I came back. I can’t thank her enough for helping me get going again.

“We have been a great team together.”

Fiorente went one better than his second place to Green Moon in last year’s Cup.

The win means Waterhouse has followed in the footsteps of her father TJ Smith, who won the Cup on Toparoa in 1965 and Just a Dash in 1981.

“It’s a holy grail, it’s the most important staying race we have in the southern hemisphere and it’s nice to have the Cup at Tulloch Lodge,” Waterhouse said.

“It’s very nice to be up there with dad.”

All placegetters were experienced Cup runners. Red Cadeaux ran a narrow second in 2011 before finishing eighth last year.

Mount Athos was an unlucky fifth last year.

THE Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente has won the Melbourne Cup on a dramatic day at Flemington.

Fiorente beat Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos for Waterhouse’s first triumph in the big race on a day of redemption of jockey Damien Oliver.

Oliver was suspended for eight months last year for an illegal bet on a rival horse, and slapped with another two-month ban for using a mobile phone in a prohibited area. It was his third Cup triumph after riding home Doriemus in 1995 and Media Puzzle in 2002.

Waterhouse has been trying to win a Cup since she first had her training licence in 1992. She was the bridesmaid with Te Akau Nick (1993), Nothin’ Leica Dane (1995) and Fiorente last year.

“To Damien, you steered him a treat,” Waterhouse said.

“It was absolutely joyous to watch. A trainer can always say that after you win. But I love the way you knew in your mind exactly where you were going to be.

“The horse is a pleasure to train. From the moment he set foot in Flemington exactly a year ago, he’s never disappointed us. To everyone here today, I hope you enjoy, as much as we are, the moment.”

Oliver was overjoyed to get the $7 favourite home.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said.

“There’s a lot of emotions going through my body at the moment. I’m so rapt that I could be part of Gai’s first one. She was one of the first people who got behind me when I came back from suspension. I was a fair way back and before I knew, I was on top of them on the turn. It was just a matter of holding him back until the right time.

“It’s every jockey’s dream come true. It’s a really special moment.

“To Gai Waterhouse, we all know what a trailblazer she’s been in racing … and the biggest thanks to the crowd here today and Fiorente. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Waterhouse’s late father, the legendary trainer Tommy Smith, won the Cup in 1955 and 1981.

An estimated crowd of more than 100,000 flocked to Flemington.

“Didn’t he (Oliver) ride him a treat,” Waterhouse said.

“He just kept track up and tracking up. I’m so thrilled. So thrilled for all the people who come up to me and said, ‘Good luck, Gai.”’

Asked what it was like to do what her father had done twice, she replied: “I’ve got to do it again, haven’t I.”

The race was not free of incident with 17-1 shot Verema breaking down badly, failing to finish before being put down.

Waterhouse had a nerve-racking build-up. Dunaden and Tres Blue were only cleared to take their places in the Cup after stewards quizzed the horses’ trainers about race day treatment.

After some highly anxious moments at Flemington, only hours before the race, the pair were cleared to run but only after assurances from Racing Victoria vet Dr Brian Stewart.


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