This used to be a massive weekend for racing.
The Easter double-header at Randwick, supported by their iconic Sales (and the neighbouring Show) took centre stage.
Seemingly most of Adelaide headed into the Hills for the timeless Oakbank Carnival.
Melbourne stuck with Caulfield and a plethora of country cards.
Holiday Mondays are nowadays hopeless meetings across the year. Great Eastern Day, once in the top ten attended in Australia each year, has dwindled dramatically. Maybe they need to tinker before it dies. Discard the extra meetings which have removed the novelty. Make the Carnival consecutive Saturdays, making it easier for Von Doussa participants to back up for the gruelling marathon Steeple?
The Adelaide forecast is positive so hopefully they get a few there, at least on Saturday – and they stop the recent trend of exorbitant pricing. Once your regular crowd stops going, you’ll never entice them back. Easter rituals are replaced.
Randwick now only open for the Saturday, again a G1 card on a wet track (tipped to improve from the 9 posted Wednesday). The All-Aged Stakes (SR7, 1400m, WFA, G1) is time-honoured and invariably lands a classy winner. It’s a pretty even field with just 10 acceptors. Le Romain (1) is now a triple G1 victor and the conditions and wide gate will suit. I marginally lean to English (9), which made a hoofnote last week as one of 3 Waterhouse horse substituted by others at the “Breakfast gallops” – substituting horses and Waterhouse being an old sore the media might like to scratch. She and her co-trainer, Adrian Bott, have been hauled in for their “mistake” and some punters are scathing that she wouldn’t parade her good ‘uns at a gallop. They see it as disrespectful. It is, of course, deceitful, but perhaps we should be looking to the ones “drafted in”? It isn’t easy to gallop all that you want on the course proper at Randwick so maybe these 3 were hand-picked for a purpose. One just got pipped at Warwick Farm (odds-on) today (Wednesday). But the other two are in the last at Randwick on Saturday and I’m interested. Very keen to back Fabrizio (SR9, No1, 7/2) and small save Stampede (SR9, No8, 14/1).
The Champagne (SR6, 1600m, 2yo, SW) is a fascinating field but doesn’t inspire me.
A couple of other races do.
Almighty Girl may become a marginal muncher but she has to be given a last chance in a BM81 with little depth (SR2, No2). Sending my good after bad at 8/1. The Hall Mark (SR4, 1200m, SWP, G3) is a great little race with a host of chances. More study required.
Down here in Melbourne the focus of Caulfield’s 10 race card will be Greg Miles, a man who is held in high regard as both a caller and a fella. Good luck to him in retirement. Miles gets to call a couple of traditional features, the Victoria Handicap (MR8, 1400m, G3) and the Easter Cup (MR9, 2000m, G3).
Sadly I must acknowledge what a terrible week it has been for jockeys…injuries, paraplegia and death. Bloody tough game.
Take care over the long weekend. Back a winner if you can. Have the money and health to try again next week.