Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fiorente set to take on world after Cup victory

Fiorente ridden by Damien Oliver wins the Melbourne Cup.

Favourite: Fiorente ridden by Damien Oliver wins the Melbourne Cup. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Fiorente has the racing world at his feet - now it is simply up to trainer Gai Waterhouse to decide where to go next with her Melbourne Cup winner.

It could be Royal Ascot, or the Dubai World Cup, which got a mention on Wednesday, as did the Arc De Triomphe. Maybe Waterhouse won't be satisfied with one Melbourne Cup and will aim Fiorente to do the double next year. Whatever happens, it is a decision for another day, according to the trainer, who for now just wants to enjoy breaking her 21-year Cup hoodoo.

''I always say to my owners let's let the dust settle,'' Waterhouse said. ''I am a great believer in getting over the moment, enjoying the moment and then have time to think. He will have a break now and so will the owners before we start looking at the autumn.''

Races such as the BMW and the Australian Cup loom as targets, but the Ascot Gold Cup over 4000 metres in June has always tickled Waterhouse's fancy.

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''He is the right horse [for that], but I'm not leaning towards anything except this cup at the moment,'' she said as she cradled Tuesday's hard-won Cup. ''We want to celebrate his win. Who is to say this horse will not come back and do it again? I

know it doesn't happen too often but I feel he is a horse that could easily do it.

''We could be here next year.''

It would perhaps be one of Waterhouse's greatest triumphs if she could take the six-year-old, which started his career in England back in the Old Dart, and win one of that country's most storied races. Waterhouse was, as always, the arch professional the day after ticking off the Melbourne Cup as a race she had to win. She sat before the media and a glowing set of owners talking about her role in racing and where she is positioning herself into the future.

It is clear she will continue to train. She is interested in expanding her Melbourne operation but a permanent move south is probably not on the agenda.

''I love the warmth here, the weather might not be as warm but the people are warm,'' Waterhouse said. ''We are talking with the people from the VRC on how we can enhance just the area I have [at Flemington]. I don't want to have a big stable down here. One of the good things of having the boutique yard is that the horses all know they have to earn their brownie points to be here. I have to concentrate ones that are here when they come down and get them winning.''

So, as one of the most famous trainers in the land closes in on her 60th birthday there are no signs of slowing down. Asked if she was already looking for her next Cup horse, she offered, ''I am, always, but I might already have it''.

For Waterhouse, winning the Cup also meant being on an honour roll that includes her father, Tommy Smith.

She took a minute to mention him on Tuesday.

''I thought of Dad this morning and how excited he would be,'' Waterhouse said in the press conference after the Cup on Tuesday. ''It has been my burning desire to get this and I have done it.''

Having done that, she will continue to promote the sport she loves so much. ''I like to fly the flag for the sport which has been so good for my father, mother, [my husband] Rob and me,'' she said.

''It is our life blood it is what we live for, it is all we hope and dream about. I want people to love it and the more people that love, the more people that come to the races is what keep us employed.''

Only difference is now she will do it as a Melbourne Cup winner.

Twitter - @ChrisRoots1


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