Mother’s Day isn’t until May 12, but Gai Waterhouse, the champion horse-training mother of Australian bookie Tom Waterhouse, has already provided her son with ample reason to spring for the extra big box of chocolates this year. In the wake of this week’s parliamentary committee hearing on the role of gambling advertising in sport – at which young Waterhouse’s ubiquitous presence during Nine Network broadcasts of National Rugby League matches were singled out for special criticism – Mrs. Waterhouse has reacted the only way any self-respecting mother should when her offspring are threatened, namely, by getting out her riding crop.
“Bugger the criticism,” Gai told the Herald Sun. Self-appointed judges such as Greens senator Richard di Natale “should stop criticizing – all they can ever do, the Greenies and all the rest of them. They want to kill every industry in Australia and then they wonder why they are going belly up.” Gai believes her son “is out there working his butt off. If everyone worked as hard as my son Tom we’d have a much better society in Australia.”
Gai added that while her son may be pimping his product on Australian rugby fans’ television screens, those watching the broadcast “don’t have to pick up the phone to have a bet … People have got intelligence and make up their minds.” Gai claims that there are a multitude of companies cross-selling sports and gambling, but “because Tom is a name … you can criticize it and that is the problem with [Di Nitale].”
Indeed, a perusal of the assorted social media sniping directed Waterhouse’s way indicates a certain difficulty with the man himself, not necessarily his line of work. Ironically, his penchant for referencing “Mum’s horses” in his onscreen banter seems particularly prone to riling up his critics. (We assume the phrase “mama’s boy” will now start trending.) So is this whole kerfuffle just a way for those envious of Waterhouse’s allegedly easy ride into the public eye to take him down a notch?
Whatever the motivation for the ire directed his way, Gai’s 30-year-old son is taking it in stride. Waterhouse couldn’t appear before the committee due to prior commitments, but he’s since emerged to brush off the “heckling” as “just part and parcel of the business … I just try and take it in my stride and just do it.”