The Waters family name is synonymous with country racing, particularly in Tumbarumba and surrounds, with the likes of Rodger and Mont Waters most recently keeping their family’s racing traditions alive, training winners throughout the Southern Districts and Northern Victoria.
Mont’s daughter, Emily, will be the next Tumbarumba product to try and make her mark on the local racing scene, with the young trackwork rider now classed as an ‘approved rider’ and able to compete at amateur events, or better-known as picnic race meetings.
The 23-year-old, who works for Wagga trainer Scott Spackman, successfully passed her 10th trial last week and will kick off her burgeoning career in Wagga on October 8.
Waters will be riding two horses for her father, while also hopping aboard champion picnic galloper, Cryfowl, for Spackman.
Funnily enough, the young hoop was never destined for a career in the saddle, with Waters explaining that it was her sister, Bridget Waters, that led her to riding for Spackman in the first place.
“It all goes back to dad and Bridget. They were always the ones keen about racing in our family. Then Bridget asked me to ride track work with her one day,” Waters said.
“I remember the very first gallop I did with Bridget, and I thought I was travelling and then she took off and said, ‘try and keep up with me now’ and I thought, ‘holy moly this is good’.
“After that, Spacky (Spackman) asked me if I wanted to do a jump-out one day and after experiencing that jump and run feeling, I knew this was for me and it manifested, and I thought about it more and more and decided that’s what I wanted to do.”
Riding is certainly in Waters’ genes though, with Emily a natural in the saddle.
“I always did pony club and stock work for dad and he had us riding ever since we could walk because that’s all he knew,” Waters laughed.
“The country is that steep out at dad’s too, that you can only do mustering on horses, and we ride all the time and I love it.”
As far as making her race day debut, Waters admitted everyone was very excited and she thanked her boss for the recent opportunities and helping create a pathway to the races.
“We are all pretty excited and it will mean a lot to all of us and especially dad,” Waters said.
“I wouldn’t be doing this without Spacky; he has done so much for me, and he got Cryfowl back in work just for me and the amount of stuff he has taught me over the past 12 months is incredible.”
As far as a career in the saddle goes, Waters has envisioned travelling around the picnic circuit.
“I started off thinking I would ride one for dad and Spacky and that would be it,” Waters laughed.
“They both had short careers and I thought, ‘I’d just like to win one for dad and Spacky’, but it’s been such a thrill and I’ve loved it and I could definitely see myself travelling around a bit.”
Spackman was full of praise for his young stable hand and newest picnic hoop, touching on why Waters was ready to make her riding debut.
“The beauty of Em is that she learns, she listens, and you just have to see how she has ridden in her 10 trials,” Spackman said.
“From the first one to the last one, she keeps improving and improving. Everything the stewards ask of her; she lifts that bar. We still have a little way to go but there is only one way she is going, and that is up, and she is a very impressive young girl.”
Spackman and Waters lived through the ride of a lifetime late last year and earlier this year with talented galloper, Rocket Tiger, winning at Canberra and Royal Randwick in December before running back-to-back Group racing placings in the Silver Slipper at Rosehill in February and Canberra’s Black Opal in March.
Rocket Tiger then contested the world’s premier two-year-old event at Rosehill in March, The Golden Slipper, and all along, it was Waters riding his track work.
“I was never nervous or anything because I was never allowed on him,” Spackman laughed.
“I got to ride him twice and Bridget rode him and then Em got the ride because he was the quietest one that we had here, and she did a remarkable job.
“It was the ride of a lifetime, and we are looking forward to him coming back into work.”
Spackman is now hoping Waters will make a winning debut on his stable stalwart, Cryfowl, with the Wagga trainer teaming up with Over The Line racing to bring the now eight-year-old back to Wagga solely for Waters’ development and one final crack at the picnics.
“We were lucky enough to purchase old Cryfowl back with Over The Line racing and he has been an absolute marvel for my stable and I’m pretty sure he has never missed a cheque at the picnics,” Spackman said.
“The idea of getting him back was to help Emily get her (approved rider’s) licence with the plan of going to the Harden Cup and winning it for the third time with him and with Em on board.
“It would have been one hell of a story but with Covid, that option is gone and now we will go to the new Wagga meeting and hope for some luck there.”
It shapes to be an exciting day for the Spackman stable and the Waters family at Wagga next Friday and plenty of eyes will be on the young hoop as she makes her long awaited debut.