Gai's four-year Japanese plan reaping rewards

A four-year plan is starting to come to fruition for Gai Waterhouse and her training partner Adrian Bott with cosmopolitan 4-year-old Hush Writer (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}) headed toward the major staying races of the spring after securing stakes success in the Listed WJ McKell Cup at Rosehill on Saturday.

Waterhouse purchased Hush Writer on behalf of clients on a visit to Japan in 2015, spending 132 million yen (approx. AUD$1.7m) on six horses at the JRA Select Sale in July 2015 with a view of giving them the benefit of a Japanese education before tackling Australian racing.

Hush Writer, out of Star of Sapphire (USA) (Tapit {USA}), the full sister to two-time Group 1 winner Zazu (USA), cost Waterhouse 23 million yen (approx $300,000). He was then sold out to an array of clients, headed by Mt Hallowell Stud, Musk Creek Farm and several members of the Waterhouse family.

"We kept them over in Japan and we wanted to get them the benefit of the environment and being reared over there. They grew out as yearlings and they were broken in," Bott told Sky Racing Radio.

"From the day they go into training as yearlings, they are in work every day of their life. They are training up hills and strengthening and conditioning all the time, getting the miles in their legs."

"We wanted the benefit of that and getting those superior athletes over to Australia."

Hush Writer then took a detour to France, initially being prepared under the legendary Criquette Head-Maarek before transferring to Francis Graffard.

"He did the same course as I did with Godolphin Flying Start many years back and we wanted to give him an opportunity," Bott said.

He had three starts for Graffard, including a win at Longchamp and a Group 2 placing, with Waterhouse keeping a close eye on things.

Trainers Adrian Bott and Gai Waterhouse

Trainers Adrian Bott and Gai Waterhouse

"Gai was over there to see him run third in a Group 2. She's loves every minute of this, she's a part owner. She had to take a back seat when she went over there as she wasn't giving the instructions. She didn’t like when he wasn't out there leading, but it's been a great ride," Bott said.

He arrived in Australia in July last year and was immediately put into work, although Bott said adapting to Australian racing didn’t prove easy.

"It happened a bit too quickly for him. He was still a colt and he got to Moonee Valley and it was all too much for him. He got so fired up," he said.

He would run second at Flemington second-up before placing in a Listed 2400m race at Mornington. After finishing down the track in the G3 Bart Cummings, he was spelled.

Bott said he and Waterhouse learned a lot about Hush Writer from that first campaign and hatched a plan to kick him off in a 2400m race this time around off the back of two trials.

"It goes back to their breeding. The way he has been trained his entire career. It what he is bred to do. The horse doesn't have a turn of foot over the shorter distances," Bott said.

"We trained him earlier in his preparation for speed, but we just weren't seeing the results. He needed to be trained to get a trip, and that's exactly what we did."

Hush Writer

Hush Writer

"He needed to be trained to get a trip, and that's exactly what we did." - Adrian Bott

"We mixed up his training, got the miles in his legs, a lot of longer slower work and he responded really well. It wouldn’t have been effective over the short trips for him."

"As long as the horse is fit, which he was for Saturday, they are able to be competitive in those type of events. He's obviously a classy individual."

He surged to the front in the McKell Cup at Rosehill on Saturday at big odds and held on for a win which sets him up nicely for the spring.

Wolfe added into mix

Bott admits that they have some planning to do to ensure Hush Writer and another one of those 2015 Japanese purchases, Wolfe (Jpn) (Novellist {Ire}) don't trip over one another on their way to hopefully qualifying for the big spring races.

Wolfe, who also went through France but arrived in February this year, has raced his entire career in Australia for Bott and Waterhouse, winning four of his five starts, including a Randwick Benchmark race in impressive fashion last week.

"We’ve just tipped him out now for a short little freshen up. He’ll be back early spring and we will work out how we split the two up," Bott said.

Wolfe Winning at Royal Randwick

Wolfe Winning at Royal Randwick

"We want to target the staying features with both of those horses."

Wolfe, the most expensive of the six horses purchased in Japan at 33 million yen (approx. $440,000) is owned in similar interests to Hush Writer.

Another one of that group, Bag Raider (Jpn) (Bago {Fr}), finished eighth over 1600m at Caulfield on Saturday having won on his Australian debut at Bendigo in May for trainer Scott Cameron, who purchased him off Waterhouse through an online sale.

Copy: Bren O’Brien, TDN Aus/NZ