Horse trainer Gai Waterhouse arrives at a Stewards Hearing at Racing NSW, in Sydney.
Horse trainer Gai Waterhouse arrives at a Stewards Hearing at Racing NSW, in Sydney. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Waterhouse angry after being fined $5000

GAI Waterhouse erupted in anger after Australia's highest profile racing personality and her co-trainer Adrian Bott were found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the image of racing and fined a total of $5000.

Waterhouse and Bott were issued with a charge under rule AR175 (a), namely conduct prejudicial to the image and/or interests of racing, after stewards established three of the stable's racehorses English, Serena Bay and Debonairly did not conduct trackwork on the Randwick course proper as programmed at the Breakfast With Stars function on April 4.

They were substituted by three other horses from the Waterhouse-Bott stable - Fabrizio, Sort After and Stampede - with those three horses carrying the same colours as the nominated horses.

Waterhouse and Bott pleaded not guilty to the charge but Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel felt "the conduct is sufficient to (warrant) a finding of guilt."

Waterhouse erupted into anger just seconds after Van Gestel handed the guilty verdict down.

"That's a load of rubbish," Waterhouse shouted.

"We are talking about the lowest, lowest end. There was no crime committed, there was no intent for crime. We made a mistake.

"You are treating us like we are breaking some terrible rule.

"We have not broken the rules of racing."

Van Gestel noted the Brent Zerafa case when handing down the guilty verdict.

Colourful identity John Camilleri texted media personality Zerafa a tip for Palazzo Pubblico before it won on January 17, 2015 when supported in betting.

Zerafa didn't tip Palazzo Pubblico in his duties on TVN in the mounting yard but subsequently had $200 at $6 on the horse just before the race started.

He was disqualified for three months after being found guilty under rule 175 (a) but had the penalty reduced to a $1500 fine on appeal.

Waterhouse said you couldn't compare the two cases, to which the stewards agreed.

"There was betting and money involved (in the Zerafa case), there is no money involved with us, no money at all," Waterhouse said.

Waterhouse argued this was just trackwork and it wasn't like they were replacing horses in a trial or a race.

The inquiry, after being initially adjourned on April 11, continued yesterday with Waterhouse and Bott being represented by lawyer Marcus Pesman, who argued for a charge to be sustained under rule 175 (a) stewards must prove their conduct 'was' prejudicial to the image of racing rather than it 'might be'.

"There has to be actual damage," Pesman said.

"I agree it's possible persons were misled (but) there is simply no evidence of that.

"There is no evidence any damage actually happened."

Pesman argued rule 175 (a) was designed for "serious misconduct and we are simply not in that territory."

But stewards felt the charge could be sustained and hit Waterhouse and Bott with a $5000 fine.

"We accept the circumstances of the morning where (English, Serena Bay and Debonairly) were not suitable (for trackwork) that morning," Van Gestel said.

"What the stewards don't accept is the partnership was able to unilaterally make a decision to replace those horses without ... checking with the club.

"There was no approval sought or obtained in respect to allowing the three horses to work on the course proper that morning.

"The conduct is sufficient to (warrant) a finding of guilt."

Waterhouse offered a "no comment" when leaving Racing NSW headquarters yesterday and it is unclear whether they will appeal the verdict.