By Caryl Williamson
Tuesday 29 September 2009, 7:21pm
Bill Waterhouse will step up on his bookmakers' stand at Randwick on Saturday to do what he has been doing for more than seven decades - challenge the punter to do better than him.
So far he has come out on top, apart from a couple of glitches including a million dollars he says he's still owed by Kerry Packer.
Waterhouse tells his story in "What Are The Odds" launched by his long-time friend, former NSW Premier Neville Wran, in Sydney on Tuesday.
Wran and Waterhouse studied law together at Sydney University but the lure of the track proved too great for one.
After beginning as a clerk for his father Charles in 1938, Waterhouse was a part-time bookie until the death of his brother Charles in 1954 and he quickly made the transition from barrister to bookmaker.
He has never stopped doing the form even when he and his bookmaker son Rob spent 17 years on the sidelines over the notorious Fine Cotton substitution scandal - of which Bill Waterhouse says they were scapegoats.
His form study was also responsible for the merging of two of racing's most famous families as his daughter-in-law Gai Waterhouse revealed.
"Thirty years ago I rang him to ask him to go on a new racing show," she said.
"He said `I can't but I have a son who can'."
Two years after the daughter of Australia's greatest trainer TJ Smith and Rob Waterhouse were married, the union produced a daughter Kate and a son Tom who has carried on the family business.
A former actress and now one of the country's most successful trainers, Gai Waterhouse fought her own battle to become a trainer after being knocked back because her husband was a warned-off person at the time.
The name Waterhouse is synonymous with racing and gambling and not a little controversy but Bill has no regrets.
"I have had a lovely life," he said.
"I've enjoyed it all, I love racing and it's great that we are still here."
Bill Waterhouse's book is about the rich and those he made not so rich, the honest and those not so honest.
He names them all without fear and details his unconventional marriage and the family splits that divided the bookmaking empire.
But none of those things have dampened the 87-year-old's enthusiasm or his love of the punt.