Kiwi import Descarado winning the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) for Gai Waterhouse  Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Waterhouse to reactivate interest in New Zealand tried horse market

NZ Racing Desk
7 June 2021

It’s been a few years now since Gai and Rob Waterhouse were active in the tried horse market in New Zealand, but that is all about to change.

The Waterhouse stable gained huge success through horses purchased off the track in New Zealand through the likes of Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) winner Descerado, Gr.1 Metropolitan Handicap (2600m) winner Herculian Prince and Gr.2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) winner Tullamore.

Waterhouse and training partner Adrian Bott have signaled their intention to increase the opportunities available to stable clients through tried horses, with Rob Waterhouse charged with unearthing talent from the New Zealand market.

“We have had great success before in buying horses off the track in New Zealand, although we had gone into hibernation a little in the Kiwi market,” Waterhouse said.

“We have been active in Europe in recent years but both Gai and Adrian have asked me to redouble my efforts in New Zealand and concentrate on the opportunities that are present there at the moment.

“Through my wagering activity I keep a very comprehensive database on New Zealand racing which is very handy when it comes to looking at horses that might fit the bill for the stable.

“We look for a few things, but it is not overly complicated as the main emphasis is on finding potential staying types.

“I work quite closely with several Bloodstock agents in New Zealand and would expect we will be doing the same again as we identify horses that we are keen on.”

With Waterhouse looking for potential stayers he isn’t as concerned about pedigree pages as he would be if buying from the National Yearling sale at Karaka.

“We’re only looking for stayers and although pedigree is important, it doesn’t have the same influence on our decisions when you are talking about tried horses,” he said.

“While there has been a switch to the European market, the new regulations around importing Europeans for races like the Melbourne Cup could slow that market down a little, hence why New Zealand will remain a viable option.

“I don’t think it will dissuade that many from still bringing horses in from Europe, but the way they do it will change with horses coming down earlier rather than just for the one race, I would guess.

“I think one of the things that has influenced that European market has been the way the horses have been treated so leniently by the Australian handicappers in the past.

“I believe that is wrong and if that was tightened up then you would see a drop off through that alone.”

Waterhouse is proud of the success that Gai and her team have had with purchases from New Zealand.

“Descerado has probably been our best buy out of New Zealand as he won a Caulfield Cup, but we have had many other very good performers as well,” he said.

“While previously our clients have been keen to be involved with the English imports, I do think the tide has turned and the Kiwi horses will be sought after.

“From the horses we have bought from New Zealand, we have had a number of Group winners and stakes performers, so the proof is there to see.”

Waterhouse was also keen to share some other of his observances on New Zealand racing, including his lack of support for the installation of synthetic tracks.

“I certainly think that racing more on your better tracks like Ellerslie will have a positive effect on your racing and the attractiveness to wagering,” he said.

“The quality of horses won’t change, but certainly if you are selling then being able to say you have won at Ellerslie instead of a minor course is a bonus.

“By the same token I’m not impressed by the new Cambridge track and for the life of me, I can’t see why you need it.

“If you are looking at selling horses, where are you going to sell artificial track horses to, as I doubt whether it will to be anyone in Australia.” 

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