Champion trainer Gai Waterhouse has been involved with 144 group 1 winners, but she is yet to win one of the blue riband events of the Sydney carnival, the Australian Derby, a gap on her CV she is out to correct with Yaletown at Randwick on Saturday.
In Waterhouse’s glittering career, she has dominated the Sydney autumn but the Derby has so far eluded her.
“I have won a Victoria Derby [with Nothin’ Leica Dane in 1995], but Dad won 34 of them, so I have a lot of Derbies to make up,” Waterhouse said. “It is one we want to win, and we have the right horse.”
The closest Waterhouse came to victory was with Carnegie Express, which was runner-up to Don Eduardo in 2001. Tuesday Joy and Laser Hawk gave her placings in 2007 and 2012, while Nothin’ Leica Dane was fourth behind Octagonal, Saintly and Filante in the greatest Australian Derby in 1996.
Yaletown showed his staying qualities with an all-the-way win in the Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill last weekend and there is a lot of the Tulloch Lodge toughness about him, even though he will be having only his fifth start on Saturday.
“I just thinking he is a particularly nice horse,” Waterhouse said. “He has done a treat since Saturday. He just looked amazing this morning.
“It has been a great form line into the Derby, the Tulloch. The last four winners have won the Derby. The trip won’t worry him one iota. When they came at him on Saturday, he just kicked again. I really liked that about him.”
Since joining in partnership with Adrian Bott, Waterhouse has ticked off two Melbourne Classics, winning the Thousand Guineas and VRC Oaks, and would love to add the Derby to the list, especially with a three-year-old by her Golden Slipper winner Vancouver.
“We have done well together and it has been a plan with this horse to get to the Derby, and you will see the best of him now,” she said.