Rob Waterhouse has long been regarded as one of the prominent identities and characters of racing in Australia.
Rob is a third generation Waterhouse to field as a bookmaker at the races. The tradition began in 1898 when his grandfather, Charles Hercules Waterhouse, took out a licence to operate in the flat at Randwick. The family tradition was carried on from 1954 by Rob’s father, Bill, who set huge betting records as the world’s biggest bookmaker.
Rob always seemed destined for racing. He started as a clerk working for his father Bill, at the age of 16; he became a provincial bookmaker when he was 18 and worked his way up to be a top holding rails bookmaker by the age of 25.
Rob’s career hit a major hurdle when became embroiled in the infamous Fine Cotton Affair by backing a ‘ hot tip’ on a horse called Fine Cotton. although it was never alleged he was involved in the ‘ring in’ , he paid dearly for his mistake, deeply regretting his actions and apologised to racing.
Over the next years, whilst he was not able to operate as a bookmaker, he spent his time fine tuning his skills as a form and breeding expert, while earning a living punting.
After a long absence Rob returned to the ring in 2001 amidst much media attention and support from the punters, who really appreciated his preparedness to stand behind his form assessments and be first up with the prices.
Rob has made book on racehorses, trotters and greyhounds in Sydney and has fielded at Royal Ascot, England and is the only Australian bookmaker who has been allowed to field in New Zealand in over 90 years.
It could be said Rob lives and breathes racing as he is also married to Gai Waterhouse, one of Australia’s leading trainers who has won over 130 Group One races including the 2013 Melbourne Cup.