Jenny - Clean

GAI Waterhouse yesterday launched a sensational attack on the Australian Turf Club for denying Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente the chance to trial on the Randwick course proper.

CHRISTIAN NICOLUSSI reports in the SYDNEY TELEGRAPH that Waterhouse withdrew Fiorente and Carlton House - the horse owned by The Queen - in protest to horses being forced to trial on the inferior steeplegrass.

The 11th-hour withdrawal of the two top-line horses disappointed several TV crews who had arrived at the track to film Fiorente step out in public for the first time since his Cup triumph.

Fiorente and Carlton House will now gallop between races tomorrow on the course proper, but Waterhouse didn't hold back about the trial snub.

"It's terribly disappointing,'' Waterhouse said.

“How much money has the ATC spent on the Kensington track and the course proper? You've got two of the best horses in Australia, and they're asking us to run on the steeplegrass.

"Look at the course proper. It looks divine. But what are they there for? Are they there to just look at?''

Waterhouse also scratched her Group 1 winner Romantic Touch after the owner was far from happy being forced to gallop on the steeplegrass.

Waterhouse's Our Desert Warrior and Tamariz ended up fighting out the heat that was supposed to feature Fiorente and Carlton House.

ATC general manager of racing Matt Rudolph said of Waterhouse's blow-up: "We're racing there tomorrow and next Saturday, and the course proper was never an option for the trials.

"The Kensington track has also had six meetings in seven weeks, and will race there again next Wednesday.

"These trials were always advertised as being on the steeplegrass.

"The club understands the importance of trainers giving horses the best preparation leading into a carnival, which is why we've offered Group and Listed horses the opportunity to gallop on the course proper between races on Saturday.''

Waterhouse dumped on the ATC last August when she labelled the course proper a "disgrace''. Randwick trainers were outraged when told they had to keep off the course proper during part of the spring.

As for Fiorente, racing's First Lady remains undecided where and when her headline horse's autumn campaign will begin.

The Australian Cup looms the likely target down south, but there's every chance the horse will boycott Melbourne and remain in Sydney for The Championships and the new $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Not since Black Caviar has a horse created such mainstream buzz, with ATC media consultant Russell Barwick confirming unprecedented free-to-air TV interest in Fiorente. Last year's Cup was one of the most popular in recent times because of Waterhouse's involvement.

"Sky News were looking to do a live cross with Gai, Fox Sports were coming out, Ten were sending their own crew, as was the ABC,'' Barwick said.

"I don't think we've ever had interest in a trial like that before.''

The first six heats at Randwick yesterday featured horses who have won almost a combined $15 million in prizemoney.


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