It’s Been a Jour­ney, Not a Waugh

Ladies in Racing - - Contents - Story by by Tim Guille

Kim de­vel­oped a love of horses early on and it was ev­i­dent that she had quite a nat­u­ral flair and bond with them al­most im­me­di­ately. “Horses were my life I guess. I just used to look so for­ward to my spare time out­side of school, be­cause it meant spend­ing time around horses which I just loved,” Kim said. For Kim, the older she was get­ting the more she seemed to be learn­ing the craft, help­ing her un­cle look af­ter or train the horses. “He al­ways had a few horses in work and I would do as much as I could. Ev­ery­thing from break­ing horses in, to train­ing, treat­ments and even­tu­ally I started driv­ing a lit­tle,” ex­plained Kim. This time gave Kim a solid ground­ing, and through her teenage years she be­came quite the ac­com­plished har­ness driver and pony rider – even win­ning a num­ber of events at the Bankstown Pony Club amongst other places. She said, “I just loved shows and sport­ing events. I just found them fun and re­ally ex­cit­ing”. Work­ing in the har­ness rac­ing in­dus­try was a likely out­come af­ter leav­ing school. “I ac­tu­ally al­ways wanted to be a jockey, but soon re­alised I was too heavy. So I started work­ing full time when I was 16 years old with peo­ple like Char­lie Par­sons and John Bin­skin,” she con­tin­ued. With such a strong back­ground, it wasn’t hard for her to make the tran­si­tion. “I guess I was a bit lucky, as I had been around horses for so long I didn’t need a lot of teach­ing. But I loved do­ing it per­ma­nently as I felt it was just me,” she said. To say that Char­lie was in­stru­men­tal in help­ing her de­velop her skills was an un­der­state­ment. “He was just amaz­ing with horses, so gen­tle and kind to ev­ery sin­gle one, good or bad. He had a way of be­ing able to get the best out of ev­ery horse. I loved his way with them and just learnt so much. He only ever had 20 – 30 horses in work, which meant he could get re­ally close to each one. I re­ally liked that ap­proach,” she re­called fondly. To Kim, the har­ness in­dus­try was a re­ally friendly one and she was quickly form­ing a lot of great re­la­tion­ships. It was those re­la­tion­ships that helped her take a dif­fer­ent path – driv­ing. “I had been do­ing a bit of driv­ing for some time and I just loved the rush and the com­pe­ti­tion. So it suited me and that’s what I did,” she said. It didn’t take long for the wins to start flow­ing. “I drove a nice young filly called Rangi Bill. She was a tiny lit­tle thing, but was hugely suc­cess­ful and we won a lot of races to­gether,” Kim re­mem­bered. With a few early suc­cesses un­der her belt, she sur­pris­ingly didn’t find it that hard to con­vince peo­ple that she was se­ri­ous, par­tic­u­larly as there were only a hand­ful of lady driv­ers around at the time. “All of the best driv­ers around then were ab­so­lute leg­ends. I had grown up around them, so I was lucky to feel com­fort­able in that en­vi­ron­ment. It didn’t bother me that it was male dom­i­nated I guess,” said Kim. With a de­ter­mined fo­cus and her highly pro­fes­sional ap­proach, Kim man­aged to soon find her­self as NSW’S top lady driver in the 1980s and man­aged to rep­re­sent New South Wales in the An­nual Aus­tralian Driv­ers com­pe­ti­tion. “It was fan­tas­tic to get to that level and it was a huge per­sonal achieve­ment. Af­ter a lot of hard work I felt like I had be­come a re­ally good horse­woman and it was nice to be recog­nised,” she said. To the sur­prise of many, Kim cut short her promis­ing driv­ing ca­reer in 1990 to pur­sue a new path; train­ing thor­ough­breds. “I liked the ex­cite­ment of the thor­ough­bred in­dus­try and al­ways had the change as a long term goal of mine from the mid 80s,” she said. “Har­ness prize money was low and I was strug­gling to get ahead even though I was driv­ing win­ners. I just felt like it was the right time to make the move back then,’ Kim re­called. While many peo­ple ques­tioned her choice, Kim had no re­grets and ex­plained. “It was a de­ci­sion I had al­ways planned, it felt like a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion”. Even though it ap­peared to be a big change, at its core it wasn’t. “You are deal­ing with the horses in sim­i­lar ways, and train­ing them in a sim­i­lar fash­ion so it wasn’t as big a change as many thought. “I had six boxes out there but they were pretty much all empty. I started out with one horse, which soon turned into two and then four. But that’s all I had for some time”. But the new in­dus­try didn’t come with­out its chal­lenges. “Peo­ple ex­pected you to prove your­self, but I al­ways felt if you’re good at one, you’re good at the other too,” she said. It wasn’t long be­fore peo­ple es­tab­lished that Kim Waugh was se­ri­ous about her new ca­reer and her

KIM WAUGH WAS DES­TINED TO HAVE A LIFE AROUND HORSES. AS A YOUNG GIRL GROW­ING UP IN BANKSTOWN IN SOUTH WESTERN

SYD­NEY, SHE WOULD SPEND HOURS PLAY­ING AT HER UN­CLE’S

TROT­TING STA­BLES.

har­ness rep­u­ta­tion was jus­ti­fied. “It was more about gain­ing peo­ple’s con­fi­dence and mak­ing them trust that you know what you’re do­ing.” The first ma­jor suc­cess came when Never True took out the South Grafton Cup in 1991. “It was fan­tas­tic to taste some early suc­cess with Never True. It re­ally built my con­fi­dence. An­other good horse I had early on was Cat­a­pult. He won a cou­ple of handy races, some at Group Level, which was re­ally ex­cit­ing also,’ Kim said. Re­flect­ing back on her ca­reer to date, it isn’t hard for Kim to re­call her train­ing high­light. “Mah­toum win­ning the Syd­ney Cup was just amaz­ing. He was my first Group 1 win and I was just so happy. He went onto to run 5th in the Mel­bourne Cup and ended up win­ning over $1mil­lion which was a big thrill for me,” Kim re­called. It was dur­ing this time that Kim also met her now-hus­band, exAus­tralian cricketer Mark Waugh. “I ac­tu­ally met Mark at the races one day at Rose­hill through some mu­tual con­nec­tions. He had a share in a horse of mine and we grad­u­ally built up a friend­ship over 12 months and I guess the rest is his­tory,” she said. But it has come with its in­ter­est­ing chal­lenges. “Mark ac­tu­ally has shock­ing al­ler­gies around horses. But he has had some med­i­cal help in re­cent years which seems to be help­ing thank­fully,” she said smil­ing. Over the last few years, Kim now found her­self build­ing up a rep­u­ta­tion as an out­stand­ing trainer of stay­ers. “I do love train­ing stay­ers. I feel that you get to be re­ally cre­ative in your train­ing which I re­ally like. Get­ting them fit and healthy can be done in so many ways and I love that. “I do love my 2 year olds also though,” she said, again smil­ing. Kim has now es­tab­lished her­self as a re­spected and highly suc­cess­ful trainer. “It took a fair few years to build up to the point that I’m at now, but I do love it I have to say,” she said. She now also finds her­self par­tic­i­pat­ing in the in­dus­try at new lev­els. “I’ve been on the Board of the NSW Trainer’s As­so­ci­a­tion for over four years now. I’m re­ally in­ter­ested in this side of the game too. I like to have an opin­ion and want to be in­volved as much as I can,” she ex­plained. Af­ter 15 years at Rose­hill, Kim re-lo­cated to Wy­ong on the NSW Cen­tral Coast eight years ago. “We wanted to be out of the city, but close enough that it wasn’t too far. I have fam­ily there, in­clud­ing my brother who rides work for me,” she said. Then more re­cently, Kim de­cided to pur­chase a far bet­ter prop­erty. “Buy­ing this new farm two years ago has re­ally added a lot of va­ri­ety to my train­ing and my horses. The fa­cil­i­ties are great and the horses have been thriv­ing in the new sur­round­ings and ap­pear a lot fresher men­tally. Plus its only 5 – 10 min­utes from the track which is ideal,” Kim said. Nam­ing her new prop­erty was easy. “I didn’t re­ally need to think about it too long. Mah­toum Lodge,” she said hap­pily. A legacy that ap­pears to have car­ried on from her early days has been her sta­ble size. “20 horses is a great num­ber for me. It is enough to keep me happy and I can be re­ally con­nected to each horse with that amount. I’ve got 20 boxes at the track and eight at home. It is just ex­actly where I want to be,” Kim said. Over the last 12 months Kim is start­ing to reap the re­wards of set­ting up Mah­toum Lodge. “It’s been a great year. We have had a lot of win­ners and the horses are rac­ing so well. They seem to be stay­ing on longer in their prepa­ra­tions and are just so happy and fresh,” she said. “We had a great win in Septem­ber when we won the Group 3 Cameron with For­get. That was a great re­sult and I was pretty pleased,” she said, still smil­ing. What’s next for Kim? She said, “I re­ally just want to con­tinue to be suc­cess­ful to be hon­est. I’ve got a few good stay­ers I’m work­ing with at the mo­ment, in­clud­ing Fight for Glory and Dy­lan Rocks. I’ve also just bought a lovely Ja­panese gal­loper who has just come out of quar­an­tine which I’m su­per ex­cited about”. To con­tact Kim Waugh, phone: 04 1820 5333 or

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