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30/07/02 HOY: Gai the Champion Trainer for the Season
Being crowned the Champion Group One Trainer of the Season at tonight’s Australian Racing Champions at Crown Palladium was a fitting result for the country’s premier female trainer Gai Waterhouse.

During the season Waterhouse took the Sydney scene by storm, with a team of Group One gallopers like Carnegie Express, Dress Circle, Excellerator, Ha Ha, Kingsgate and Miss Bussell.

In a thrilling finish to the season Waterhouse finished the season with four Group One wins and rival trainers like Lee Freedman, John Hawkes, Bede Murray and Guy Walter.

During the season Waterhouse scored four Group One wins. Dress Circle won The Metropolitan, Ha Ha won the Flight Stakes, while the top class three-year-old Carnegie Express won the Canterbury and Rosehill Guineas double.

As well as her four Group One wins, Waterhouse won a swag of other Group races. At Group Two level she captured the Up and Coming Stakes (Newquay), Premiere Stakes (On Type), Silver Shadow Stakes (Ha Ha), Shannon Stakes (On Type), Tea Rose Stakes (Ha Ha), Hill Stakes (Mulan Princess), Apollo Stakes (Ha Ha), TJ Smith Stakes (Phoenix Park), Todman Slipper Trial (Snowland), PJ O’Shea Stakes (Hey Pronto) and Phar Lap Stakes (Arlington Road).

Group Three wins also fell thick and fast for Waterhouse. Her list of feature race wins now includes the Concorde Stakes (Phoenix Park), Roman Consul Stakes (Stylish Lass), Kingston Town Stakes (Swiss Echo), Newcastle Cup (Agincourt Express), Colin Stephen Quality Handicap (Dress Circle), Kindergarten Stakes (Snowland), NE Manion Quality Cup (Manner Hill), Fernhill Handicap (Salameh), Frank Packer Plate (Arlington Road) and the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (Hey Pronto).

She also won 22 other listed races at Eagle Farm, Rosehill, Randwick, Warwick Farm, Doomben, Newcastle, Werribee, Geelong, Gold Coast, Gosford and Tamworth.

Her Group One seconds were Carnegie Express (Australian Derby), Dress Circle (Ranvet Stakes), Ha Ha (Thousand Guineas) and Kingsgate (Epsom Handicap). She also had thirds at the highest level with Dress Circle (All Aged Stakes), Excellerator (The Galaxy), Kingsgate (Stradbroke Handicap) and Miss Bussell (Queensland Derby).

Last year’s winner John Hawkes had superior placings but only finished the season with three Group One wins, one less than his Sydney rival Waterhouse. Hawkes’ Group One wins came with Viscount (George Main Stakes), Lonhro (Caulfield Guineas) and Lord Essex (George Ryder Stakes). He had six Group One seconds and twelve thirds at the same level.

Melbourne’s leading trainer Lee Freedman also had four Group One wins thanks to Don Eduardo (Australian Derby), Mr. Murphy (Eat Well Live Well Cup), Barkada (CF Orr Stakes) and Pillaging (VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes). Freedman was second in three Group One races and third twice.

Guy Walter saddled up four different horses to win Group One races during the season. He cheered home Republic Lass (AJC Oaks), Defier (Queen Elizabeth Stakes), Spinning Hill (Lightning Stakes) and the recently retired Tie the Knot (Chipping Norton Stakes). Walter only had one Group One placing – a third in the Doncaster with Defier.

The only other trainer who rivaled those already mentioned was the Kembla Grange based Bede Murray. Bede had a great year by winning the Ranvet Stakes with Universal Prince, and both the Champagne Stakes and the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes with Victory Vein. That filly also ran a close second in the Golden Slipper. Universal Prince was placed in three Group Ones, while Half Hennessy gave Murray a Champagne Stakes quinella by running a photo finish second to Victory Vein.

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