A wrap of racing’s soap opera: the More Joyous affair

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    2012 winner of the Doncaster, More Joyous. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

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    If there was any question the once-rosy and all-conquering relationship between Gai Waterhouse and John Singleton was tattered beyond repair, it became abundantly clear at Monday’s inquiry into the poor performance of More Joyous in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick a week and a half ago.

    Waterhousegate, the More Joyous affair, the Singo fiasco – whatever you want to call it, it has irreparably damaged the relationship between the champion trainer and one of Australia’s great larrikins, with the ashes of the great partnership on display for an excitable media corps at Racing NSW’s headquarters in Sydney.

    It promised to be a soap opera, and the main characters delivered in spades in what was at times a heated and tense hearing.

    Waterhouse told the inquiry John Singleton was “an absolute sham” who put “Chinese whispers from a trumped up, beat-up jockey, a brothel owner and a famous footballer” ahead of “a relationship that had been successful for over 15 years.”

    She also suggested he was drunk before the race, which Singleton refuted.

    “I had two or three drinks in the lead up to the race, and I had as many as you could get into me after the race,” Singleton said.

    But Waterhouse countered that he had a “reputation” and that his word could not be believed.

    She suggested he was “insanely jealous” when Pierro managed to defeat More Joyous in the Canterbury Stakes, and that his pre-race rant before the All Aged Stakes had distracted stable jockey Nash Rawiller and caused him to ride a poor race.

    Waterhouse then put the boot in once more as the inquiry concluded for the evening, suggesting to Singleton the poor run could be attributed to the fact More Joyous “is a seven-year-old mare and she’s old – like you!”

    Singleton had a number of barbs of his own, suggesting Gai’s bookmaker son Tom had “coached” key witness Andrew Johns – who failed to show for Monday’s inquiry – after Johns had used the word “embellish” to describe his subsequent conversations about More Joyous.

    “I’ve known him since he was 14 or 15 and embellish is not part of his vocabulary,” Singleton said about Johns.

    But Singleton looked as limp as his mare had been in the All Aged Stakes, failing to counter the strong attacks of the first lady of racing.

    Barring the theatrics, there were a number of matters before the hearing, which concluded without a definite resolution on Monday evening. I’ve addressed many of the individual elements here separately:

    Was More Joyous fit to start?

    It seems that everyone who examined More Joyous felt there was no reason why the mare couldn’t start in the All Aged Stakes.

    But what is so concerning is that Waterhouse didn’t inform the stewards there was anything wrong, nor did she advise that More Joyous had been administered with an antibiotic only 24 hours before the All Aged Stakes.

    That is not against the rules of racing, but in my mind, it is ethically wrong. Surely someone with an understanding of betting knows that transparency is vital?

    The chain of events started on Wednesday, when More Joyous didn’t eat all her feed. This is usually the first hint that all is not well.

    On Thursday morning, More Joyous galloped on the dirt track at Randwick, coming home her last 200m in 11.3 seconds. It was exceptional work, as noted by Randwick clocker Craig Thomson.

    However, as stable foreman Dave Meijer noted in his testimony, the mare had a swollen neck and she wouldn’t pick grass off the ground, the sign of a sore neck.

    She was examined by Randwick Equine Centre vet Dr Leanne Begg, who said the problem was minor and administered cartrophen, an anti-inflammatory drug, to the mare.

    As it was ANZAC Day, Begg delayed having a blood analysis taken on More Joyous until Friday. The analysis showed a slight elevation of the white blood cell count. An antibiotic was administered under the direction of Singleton’s veterinarian Dr John Peatfield, who was in Mudgee but had received advice of the oncology report on the phone.

    Begg didn’t believe the inflammation was a sign of infection and was against administering an antibiotic.

    On Saturday morning, Peatfield and Singleton’s racing manager Duncan Grimley inspected the horse, along with Waterhouse.

    All three agreed she was fit to start, with Peatfield supposedly saying at the time, “I can’t guarantee she’ll win, because that’s not my job, but I can’t see a reason not to run her.”

    Although there are slight variations in the accounts of the main players, all are fairly consistent. What is concerning is the processes involved.

    Furthermore, it was not recorded in the stable’s treatment book – a list of all treatments administered to horses – that More Joyous had been administered with cartrophen on Thursday morning.

    Waterhouse says it was an oversight by Dr Begg, and that More Joyous had received cartrophen weekly since she was a juvenile.

    This is not disputed by Begg.

    The stable treatment book is there for a purpose. At a time when scrutiny on racing, and sport in general, is at a higher level than any other time in regards to drugs, it is imperative racing remains on the front foot.

    Set an example for other trainers – indicate that all medications applied to horses must be recorded. Failure to do so attracts a penalty. Simple.

    As for Waterhouse’s failure to inform stewards, this is a more serious charge under the rules of racing. It depends on the nature of the condition, and given the testimony of veterinarians suggests they both thought she was fine to race, it may be argued that there was no need to inform the regulators.

    While I personally believe Gai Waterhouse should have told stewards there was an issue with More Joyous, a charge may not stick.

    Likely outcome: Waterhouse should receive a reprimand or a fine for not recording the administering of cartrophen. Whether she is also sanctioned for not informing stewards of the condition of More Joyous, time will tell.

    Did Tom Waterhouse have more information that More Joyous was not right?

    Short answer, no.

    People may like to build conspiracy theories, but I think it is fairly clear that Waterhouse Jr has been the victim of a sad round of Chinese whispers.

    Waterhouse told Andrew Johns – the “famous footballer” as Gai called him – that he “didn’t like It’s A Dundeel, All Too Hard or More Joyous”.

    Johns mentioned it to “the brothel owner” Eddie Hayson. Hayson mentioned it to “the trumped up, beat-up jockey” Allan Robinson, who then rang Singleton.

    It’s hearsay at its finest – or perhaps its lowest.

    The ledgers don’t support the conclusion Waterhouse knew “More Joyous was off”, as he was alleged to have said.

    Through his online bookmaking business, Tom Waterhouse stood All Too Hard to lose $250,000. More Joyous would have been a $135,000 winner for the joint, while Rain Affair – who he had backed heavily – was his best result.

    His father Robbie also had a similar ratio for All Too Hard and More Joyous, although he was fielding in the ring and his book was much smaller.

    What wasn’t really clarified was the bets Waterhouse Jr allegedly had on More Joyous. It was clear he had backed Rain Affair heavily, while it was also clear he had backed Epaulette.

    The most humorous part of the day was when TomWaterhouse.com’s NRL Editor Nick Tedeschi appeared before the panel.

    As the third member of a conversation between Waterhouse and Andrew Johns, he was able to attest to what was said between the pair.

    However, it seemed the only purpose he served was to confirm for his employer that he backed More Joyous.

    But while that satisfies the cynic in me, there is hardly a shred of evidence to suggest Waterhouse knew More Joyous was “off”. Any legal case against him would be thrown out immediately.

    If it is a cover up, they’ve done a mighty fine job. I’m more inclined to believe he’s innocent – well, as innocent as he can be.

    Likely outcome: Nothing. Surprisingly, Tom Waterhouse is probably the only person to leave the inquiry with his integrity and reputation almost intact. Others will take greater hits than him.

    Did John Singleton bring racing into disrepute?

    This is a tough one.

    Should he have gone off like an idiot in the mounting yard, yelling profanities left, right and centre? No way.

    Should he have gone on television, making allegations about the Waterhouse family? Absolutely not.

    Does that constitute bringing racing into disrepute? In my mind, yes, but I’m not sure the stewards will see it that way.

    The most interesting part for me is that he said pre-race he had no idea she had problems.

    In fact, Duncan Grimley and Dr John Peatfield had informed him earlier in the day that More Joyous had issues with a swollen neck earlier in the week. The problems he’s referring to are more substantial and are based on the information passed to Singleton by Allan Robinson.

    These were quite clearly false.

    For his tirade towards Gai Waterhouse, he may face a sanction. But it’s unlikely he’ll get any more than a slap on the wrist.

    Likely outcome: It’s a line ball call. Would suggest he probably won’t face charges, but he should.

    What will happen to the three amigos – Andrew Johns, Allan Robinson and Eddie Hayson – if they don’t show at the reconvened inquiry?

    They should get warned off. In a matter of importance like this, where their evidence is crucial, they should co-operate.

    Don’t co-operate? Don’t be involved in racing.

    Simple choice, but again, whether the stewards see it that way is another matter altogether.

    Likely outcome: Who knows.

    What happened between John Singleton and Robbie Waterhouse?

    This section of the inquiry was held in camera, meaning media weren’t allowed access. It was over in less than five minutes. I doubt either party wants to take it further.

    Likely outcome: Nothing.

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    The Crowd Says (64)

    • Columnist

      May 7th 2013 @ 6:38am
      Geoff Parkes said | May 7th 2013 @ 6:38am | ! Report

      Thanks Andrew, great summary. It must have been a fascinating day.

    • Roar Guru

      May 7th 2013 @ 6:44am
      Damien said | May 7th 2013 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      Best line of the day was Gai saying that all this fuss was caused by Chinese whispers between “a trumped up little jockey, a brothel owner and a football player,” LOL.

      But seriously how stressed must Joey be feeling now ?

      Also interesting to note that Eddie Hayson owes Tom Waterhouse millions and that Waterhouse has a caveat out on his brothel. Hayson’s no stranger to dodgy betting plunges. Even Singo is saying that Hayson plays a central role in all the fuss.

      Funny thing about this is that probably the most dispised character in this whole affair (talking about Tom Waterhouse not Hayson) has come out as the biggest winner. How ironic..

    • Columnist

      May 7th 2013 @ 7:35am
      Justin Cinque said | May 7th 2013 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      Great wrap Andrew!

      Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy said an interesting thing last Monday, April 29 about the inquiry:

      “Millions of dollars are being invested on the race and we need to get to the bottom of this and find out if Tom Waterhouse has been misrepresented in this.”

      Seeing as though stewards are almost certainly not going to lay any charges on TW, we can assume they will find that TW was misrepresented. Reading what Murrihy said above, it sounds like a finding of no-wrongdoing by iTW may have the automatic effect of seeing Singo charged under AR175 for bringing racing into disrepute.

      Afterall, Murrihy’s main objective is to uphold the integrity of the sport. And that objective is clear in his quote above.

      The thing is though, if the book is thrown at Singo does that deter someone else from coming forward in the future and notifying the stewards of a situation where a sick horse raced and bookies took advantage of information that should have been brought to the attention of stewards?

      Perhaps it’s more interesting to note Murrihy’s care about determining the possible misrepresentation of TW. Why was he quoted as he was – shouldn’t he have been saying “we want to find out if Singo’s claims have substance.”

      • Columnist

        May 7th 2013 @ 8:31am
        Geoff Parkes said | May 7th 2013 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        Hi Justin, I don’t think any adverse outcome against Singo would prevent any other owner coming forward in a similar situation. Singo’s problem relates more to the manner in which he came forward, shooting from the hip, making personal claims on live national TV.

        I’m sure Stewards would want others to come forward in the future. But in a way that doesn’t create a media circus.

        You make a good point about the way in which Murrihy seemed to approach things though, as if his task was to find out if Tom was the aggrieved party ahead of Singo. But again, I’d say this comes down to the manner in which Singo acted. If he had made a calm, formal complaint to Stewards they may well have acted more on his behalf. But because of his actions, their beef was actually more with him.
        And even more so now that he hasn’t been able to produce any evidence to back it up.

        • Columnist

          May 7th 2013 @ 8:59am
          Justin Cinque said | May 7th 2013 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          There’s no doubt that Singo hasn’t helped his cause.

      • May 7th 2013 @ 10:54am
        Drew H said | May 7th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        I reckon that Singo is covered by AR 140 (b).
        An owner does report an issue. It implies that reporting is done after the race by stating ‘might have affected the running’.
        Let’s hope we don’t put grog tests on owners.

        AR 140. (a) The trainer of a horse that is included in the final acceptors for a race must ensure
        that such horse is fit and properly conditioned to race, and shall report to the Stewards as
        soon as practicable any condition or occurrence that may affect its running in the race.
        [subrule replaced 30.6.03]
        (b) The owner and/or trainer and/or rider shall report to the Stewards as soon as practicable
        anything which might have affected the running of their horse in a race.
        (c) Should anything which might have any bearing on the past or the future running of the horse
        come to the notice of the trainer after the horse has left the course, it must be reported as soon as
        practicable to the Stewards.
        (d) Any loss or breakage of gear during a race, or any unusual happening in connection
        therewith, shall be reported by the owner and/or trainer and/or rider to the Stewards immediately
        after the race.

    • May 7th 2013 @ 7:49am
      noel said | May 7th 2013 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      so its ok and funny for gai to bag a brothel owner, i must say it is a very low profession being the owner of a brothel, but its fine for her son to win millions from him, after all surely tom knows where the money the man is losing comes from

      lets nor forget how this started and the truths that have come out of it, even with the no shows of robbo, aj and the brothel owner

      something was said by tom waterhouse on that friday nite at the footy that got tongues wagging with respect that there were problems with more joyous for her race the following day at randwick

      more joyous raced and performed badly ,certainly her worst ever performance in sydney

      THEN SURPRISE SURPRISE it comes to light after the race that more joyous had had problems leading into the race

      and did gai tell anyone? the owner? or the public NO?

      someone somwhere knew something about more joyous and her condition and the bamboo telegraph was correct again

      if gai would have mentioned that more joyous had been treated in the days before the race then none of the above would have eventuated

      but she never, that still raises questions in my mind about gai and about whether she did tell her son about more joyous having problems

      • Roar Guru

        May 7th 2013 @ 8:20am
        Damien said | May 7th 2013 @ 8:20am | ! Report

        Noel,

        Gai actually informed Singo’s team about the neck problem BEFORE the race. She didn’t note it in the treatment book which she wil probably get fined for but Singo’s Team was informed about it.

        For some reason they didn’t relay the info to SIngo unitl a day later. Singo’s team say they didn’t say anything to Singo because they were going to give MJ another look the next day so they didn’t see the point in doing so. Gai reckons they didn’t because they were scared of Singo and that he would go off.

        Point is Singo’s Team knew about it. And it’s their job to let Singo know about it..

        • May 7th 2013 @ 8:42am
          noel said | May 7th 2013 @ 8:42am | ! Report

          damien it has since come to light that the horse had problems starting from the wed prior to the race

          gai did not report this to anyone before this at least to the stewards or the general public which had a right to know

          forget about singos team not telling him

          gai did not tell anybody and the treatment the horse received was not registered in her treatment book

          dont you think it seems strange that these so called chinese whispers that started at the football on friday nite with tom waterhouse which everybody now is saying never happened still turned out to be true

          the horse had problems and gai never informed people about it end of story

          • Roar Guru

            May 7th 2013 @ 3:11pm
            Damien said | May 7th 2013 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

            ‘the horse had problems and gai never informed people about it end of story’

            Not sure if thats the end of the story Noel, not sure if you’ve been following the enquiry but Gai actually did inform Singos people and they actually checked out MJ themselves and gave her the go ahead. Its on the record and been backed up by Singo’s own people.

            You’d be right if you said that Gai never informed SIngos people the very second she noticed something wrong but in the end she did inform Singo’s people well before the race.

            Why they never told Singo anything is not Gai’s problem.

    • May 7th 2013 @ 8:07am
      Bondy said | May 7th 2013 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      I’ll just clarify just prior to the race on tvn singo comes on being interviewed by I think Calender roughly 2-3 mins prior to loading where punters are making their final decisions or at least I was and singo said it was hot “couldn’t win” she’s got the slows, I ended up not betting in the race, subsequently it was probably her worst run as a race mare with the stablemate and stayer fiorente beating her home over 7 , I don’t understand what singo has done wrong he appears right to the punter , it appears to the punter if stewards or waterhouse aren’t going to inform the public that she’s off prior to the race then singo will.

      And tom walks away with about a million in free publicity .

      • Columnist

        May 7th 2013 @ 9:52am
        Cameron Rose said | May 7th 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        Excellent points Bondy.

        I’m staggered how many people continue to push the “sour grapes post-race” line. Everything Singo said was pre-race. What a coincidence that he happened to be spot on and she put in a career worst run.

        The rest is just cover-up and waffle.

        • Roar Guru

          May 7th 2013 @ 10:07am
          Jiggles said | May 7th 2013 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          So in your books it’s ok to drag someone’s name through the mud, just because you don’t like them.

          What a joke!

          • Columnist

            May 7th 2013 @ 10:37am
            Cameron Rose said | May 7th 2013 @ 10:37am | ! Report

            So we live in a society where people (Singleton) aren’t allowed to voice opinion any more Jiggles?

            In the racing game, everyone is muddy enough, don’t worry about that.

            • Roar Guru

              May 7th 2013 @ 10:49am
              Jiggles said | May 7th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

              Not if those opinions drag the reputations of others through the ringer. How would you feel if someone made ‘opinions’ of you that threatened your livelihood?

              • Columnist

                May 7th 2013 @ 11:15am
                Cameron Rose said | May 7th 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

                If there was a ring of truth or some basis in fact behind them, I’d be very worried.

                If there was no truth to them, and I didn’t have a long-running conflict of interest, I’d have nothing to be concerned about.

                I still love watching the races, and I’ll always love studying the form, but we should always be doing so with the full awareness that key players always will have more information than the average punter and owner.

              • Roar Guru

                May 7th 2013 @ 11:19am
                Jiggles said | May 7th 2013 @ 11:19am | ! Report

                So you’re basing this on speculation and a personal dislike for a guy… Right.

    • Roar Guru

      May 7th 2013 @ 8:07am
      sheek said | May 7th 2013 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      Good stuff Andrew,

      Much ado about nothing has always been the most likely outcome.

      Part of the problem is that you wouldn’t take the first word from any of the combatants. not one of them!

      The Waterhouses can each swear on any amount of bibles that they like, but don’t try telling me they don’t discuss horses around the dinner table. It’s in their DNA.

      There does remain an unresolved conflict of interest between Gai Waterhouse, leading Australian racehorse trainer & son Tom Waterhouse, leading Australian corporate bookmaker. Or make that highest turnover. Apparently.

      Perhaps Tom should not be allowed to take bets on any race in which his mother’s horses are engaged to run. Now that would be interesting, wouldn’t it? đŸ˜‰

      • Columnist

        May 7th 2013 @ 8:21am
        Geoff Parkes said | May 7th 2013 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        That’s a good point Sheek, underneath all the headlines a fundamental issue still exists re conflict and potential conflict.

        That said, it isn’t an easy one to address, they are both licensed to conduct a lawful business and there would no doubt be discrimination laws protecting them against being prevented from operating because they are related.

        • Roar Guru

          May 7th 2013 @ 12:02pm
          sheek said | May 7th 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

          True Allanthus,

          The last comment was pot-stirring. But all the same, conflict of interest remains unresolved.

          Of course, theWwaterhouses know what’s right & wrong, but they also see themselves above everyone else. They’re family, & family will discuss anything & everything.

          Tom I reckon, knew more than he let on. But anyway, since that’s almost impossible to prove, we move on until the next crisis.

          I’m sure there’ll be another conflict of interest further down the track…..

      • Roar Guru

        May 7th 2013 @ 8:30am
        Damien said | May 7th 2013 @ 8:30am | ! Report

        That sure would be interesting but it’ll be impossible to enforce and it would also bring up more questions like. Would that rule only apply to families ? How bout close friends etc. Sometimes people are alot closer to their friends than family. Pandora’s Box IMO.

        Is it me or does everytime Singo speak about the fuss he sounds like he’s the only one enjoying himself.

        • May 7th 2013 @ 10:04am
          eagleJack said | May 7th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          Exactly right Damien. Where do you draw the line on what consitutes a relationship that could potentially be compromised by receiving inside information?

          I found the most amusing aspect of this entire sordid affair that Andrew Johns, despite supposedly being told that the horse couldn’t win, placing a bet of $100 at 4:15pm on More Joyous on the day of the race. 2 days after his supposed conversation with Tom.

          Clearly if I had ever been told that a horse was unwell and had no chance of saluting then Im pretty certain I wouldn’t be putting any money on it.

          Now either Johns is a very bad punter, and quite happy throwing $100 down the drain, or we were correct from the beginning in thinking that Johns, as only Joey can do, had a few too many beverages and tried to big note himself in front of his friend Hayson. A fact Im sure he is regretting right now.

        • Roar Guru

          May 7th 2013 @ 12:04pm
          sheek said | May 7th 2013 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          True Damien,

          I think Singo has enjoyed this. Gai might think he’s a sham & the whole affair frivolous, but this was a ‘shot across the bows’ to the Waterhouses to pull their heads in.

          But I doubt they’ll heed the message…..

          • Roar Guru

            May 7th 2013 @ 6:04pm
            Jiggles said | May 7th 2013 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

            What exactly do they need to pull their heads in about?

            • Roar Guru

              May 8th 2013 @ 1:03am
              peeeko said | May 8th 2013 @ 1:03am | ! Report

              you seem very supportive of the waterhouses?

              • Roar Guru

                May 8th 2013 @ 12:20pm
                Jiggles said | May 8th 2013 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

                Well despite having a horrible smirk, I don’t really see what Tom has done and why the h@te. It’s a bit of tall poppy syndrome if you ask me.

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