This is the first installment in an ongoing series where current trainees of Godolphin Flying Start sit down with graduates of the programme to discuss their career successes. In this first installment, second-year trainee William Freedman catches up with Adrian Bott, who is in his first season as co-trainer with Gai Waterhouse.
It takes a certain pizzazz and charisma to be Gai Waterhouse, but it takes serious courage to stand alongside her in the Sydney training ranks. Adrian Bott is that man.
Adrian has a horse racing pedigree, with his father, Tony Bott, being a successful breeder in Australia. However, without the Godolphin Flying Start programme, he may never have dreamt of sharing centre stage with racing's First Lady.
Adrian, 29 years old, has garnered results unheard of for first-season trainers, taking only a week as co-trainer to break his maiden in the Listed Rosebud S. at Randwick. Much like a Thoroughbred, Adrian comes with elite pedigree, breaking and pre-training, and whilst that doesn't guarantee success, it definitely helps one's chances.
WF: When did the 'Thoroughbred bug' hit you?
AB: I certainly think that I was born with the bug. I was fortunate enough to grow-up in the industry, at one of the leading nurseries in the Hunter Valley. It's quite amazing the knowledge and experiences that you absorb and retain from a young age, so the bug was always there. However, it wasn't until I started studying at university that I realised I could make a career in the Thoroughbred industry, and it was at that point that I was 'bitten twice.' That really saw my involvement in the industry go to the next level, and I devoted all of my time and effort into trying to carve out a successful career path in the industry.
WF: During your time on the Godolphin Flying Start programme, what were some of the key lessons you took away?
AB: More than anything, the Godolphin Flying Start really opened my eyes to the extraordinary things that can be achieved in the industry. It felt as though my mind had been unlocked, I was dared to dream and then I was given the confidence, and opportunity, to be able to try and fulfill those dreams. The international exposure of the programme allows you to approach each opportunity with an open mind which, for me, was one of the key lessons that I took away.
WF: When did you start to believe that a partnership with Gai Waterhouse was possible?
AB: When I first started working with Gai, a training partnership was not necessarily something that I thought was achievable. I have always hugely admired the success that Gai has achieved throughout her training career, so I was extremely eager to gain experience working with Gai and I wanted to make the most of every opportunity that presented itself. I dedicated myself to the business, and importantly, I work very well with Gai and we make a great team. With the huge demands that are now placed on trainers who run a commercial business, it seemed a logical step to form a partnership and help share some of those burdens. Training partnership are becoming very common in Australia and there many successful examples that are proof of how a training partnership can be beneficial.
WF: Who are the stable stars for the upcoming season?
AB: We have an undefeated More Than Ready colt called Evacuation heading towards the Caulfield Guineas. As always, it is shaping up to be a very competitive race, but we believe he is a very talented colt and a race like the Guineas is certainly achievable for him.
English made a good return to the track on Saturday. While it wasn't the result that we were hoping for, we will certainly see more from her over the Spring Carnival.
We have number of 2-year-olds about to make the first steps in their career, which makes it an exciting time of year for the stable.
WF: I'm sure waking up at 2:30 a.m. is tough, so the real question is, how many cups of coffee does it take to keep the eye lids open?
AB: The early mornings don't get any easier. It takes a double-shot to kickstart the morning, followed by a top-up at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and most likely again at 3 p.m.
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