Gai Waterhouse’s controversial year ended in triumph with Fiorente giving the Sydney trainer her first Melbourne Cup win.
Twenty years after she saddled up her first runner in the Cup, Waterhouse has fulfilled her destiny by taking out Australian racing’s biggest prize.
Te Akau Nick finished second in the 1993 Cup which changed the face of the race for the future when the winner Vintage Crop began the European raid.
Two decades on and Waterhouse won the Cup at Flemington with a horse purpose-bought in England and one who ran second in the 3200m endurance test a year ago.
The win confirmed Waterhouse as one of the most resilient figures in Australian racing.
She has been in the headlines since a public fall-out with high profile owner John Singleton and an ongoing battle with Sydney racing stewards.
Waterhouse trained most of Singleton’s racehorses until the glamour mare More Joyous was beaten in the All Aged Stakes during the Sydney autumn racing carnival.
Singleton claimed Waterhouse’s son, the bookmaker Tom Waterhouse, had told rugby league star Andrew Johns that More Joyous couldn’t win the All Aged before the mare ran unplaced in the race.
“I went into the race with a real live chance for the first time ever,” said Waterhouse, who has emulated her father Tommy Smith as a Cup-winning trainer.
“I didn’t want to let people down. I kept saying to (husband) Rob ‘God I hope we win it’.
“It is every trainer’s dream and yes, it has been a burning desire to win.”
The win also provided some form of redemption for jockey Damien Oliver, coming just two months after he controversially returned to racing from a 10-month ban for betting on a rival horse in a race he was riding in in 2010.
It was a Waterhouse horse that Oliver rode in his first start back after the suspension – Divine Calling – and he took the same horse to a second placing in the Caulfield Guineas on October 12.
Oliver, who won the race on Doriemus in 1995 and Media Puzzle in 2002, brought Fiorente from midfield to stake his challenge at the 300m, and he held off Red Cadeaux in the run home with Mount Athos third.
He said it was a privilege to win the race for Waterhouse.
“It’s amazing, it’s a dream come true,” he said.
“Gai was one of the first people to get behind me when I came back and I can’t thank her enough for helping me get going again and we have been a great team together.”
— colleen petch (@petchyheraldsun) November 5, 2013