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I look forward to reviewing books. There are so few and there is such a big audience out there for a good Racing book focussing on the characters or the issues of the past or present.

John Ellicott’s previous book: ‘A Year On The Punt’ I found far more interesting than this one. The reason is that: ‘A Year On The Punt’ was a real experiential book about Racing in the bush as is it now. In fact I loved it for its entertainment value and there were plenty of amusing anecdotes to put a smile on your face. You won’t get a smile on your face with this latest book.

That said, Waterhouse and Smith is interesting from a historical point of view but contains little information that has not been covered before. A previous book: ‘The Gambling Man’, was banned in NSW so I guess a lot of the coverage of the Waterhouse’s might be new to NSW readers, however I have personally read most of the material previously in that book and found the majority of the information neither new nor fresh. If you haven’t read ‘The Gambling Man’, then by all means get hold of this book.

Waterhouse & Smith Review

The ‘Fine Cotton’ affair has been covered again and Robbie Waterhouse’s trials and tribulations in trying to get his bookmakers licence back over an incredibly long period of time make interesting reading in as much as it reveals a man prepared to virtually grovel to an ever antagonistic Australian Jockey Club which continued to deny natural justice over a long period of time.

If anything this book does reveal just how much better off Racing became once the Australian Jockey Club lost partial control of Racing in NSW. Mind you there is a long way to go on that front. The whole Waterhouse affair, both with regard to Robbie and Gai seems to have been revealed as being driven more by personality and bloody mindedness than by any ongoing wrong doing, at least that’s the way I read it after reviewing the book.

On one interesting note, when the ‘Fine Cotton’ race was about to happen I actually rated it a rough chance on it’s revealed form and the second horse, which was awarded the race, the main chance.

I have never previously read anything about Gai Waterhouse’s Dad Tommy Smith, and I did find that section of the book interesting, having lived and bet through the T.J. Smith era. I bet that you would find it interesting too if you are of a similar age.

If the truth be told, you won’t learn anything that will help you win at Racing but it will help you pass the time over the Christmas holidays. Waterhouse and Smith sells for less than the price of a decent bet and is available at all major bookshops.

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