Crio’s Easter racing preview

If you can get through the Good Friday doldrums – hint: Singapore races on TVN from 230pm! – the reward is a fantastic weekend of punting options.

On this particular forum I shall ignore AFL and the furore surrounding the betting explosion, which, by any measure, has been immense and intrusive.

And, though this page is horse racing dedicated, it must be said that a trip to Stawell is the best choice facing Victorian punters, with the pro running on Saturday and Tuesday and the “Drill Hall” tonight and Cup Meeting Sunday ensuring punters’ needs are met.

The time-honoured metro meeting in Melbourne is Caulfield’s Easter Cup meeting – anyone else find an Easter Saturday feature sponsored by LePine pretty funny? It’s a pretty good meeting and the Quaddy legs have depth and interest. The Victoria Handicap (R7, 1400m) is especially good. A fit Set For Fame looks to be the class act but there are plenty of dangers including course specialist Zedi Knight, daring Danzylum and S.A. raider Budriguez. Ripper race and a guaranteed good day out.

Wherever you are in Victoria there’s a meeting to embrace over the holiday period, with some of the country meetings being highly recommended…Balnarring tomorrow, Swift’s Creek Sunday and Avoca on Monday being possible stand-outs. Here’s a list from RVL –

SAT Caulfield , Bairnsdale , Warracknabeal, Terang, Kerang, Balnarring.

SUN Mornington , Stawell , Stony Creek , Swifts Creek

MON Flemington , Swan Hill , Traralgon , Avoca

Regardless of your Easter destination, the Randwick fields demand your attention for the Sydney Cup meeting .  This is a really good finale to the Autumn Carnival and I just hope the rain stays away and the people turn up to support the club. By far the best race of the day is the All Aged Stakes (R7, 1400m, WFA, Gr1). Funnily the absence of both More Joyous and Black Caviar has added to the lustre as some deserving stars look to capture a big race win. No one could possibly deny Haylist’s worthiness to join the honour roll and, on his last start second to the freak, he’s deservedly a 5/4 fav. But it is a crack field and I’m worried he might have had his spirit broken. I’m having a spec at Heart Of Dreams, one I’ll never back at short odds or beyond 1800m, but likely to get a cushy run and present at the rise to have me cheering the $17 secured. Plenty of other chances and a deteriorating track would change the dynamic altogether.

Looking for other winners, I’m tempted to forgive last start and give Muirfield a final chance at 25/1 in the Frank Packer Plate (R2, No 8, 2000m,3 yr olds).

The Champagne Stakes (R4, 1600m,2 yr olds, Gr 1) sees the juveniles stretched to the mile. Helmet looks the one to beat but be sure to include Pane In The Glass and also Fast And Sexy in your exotics.

I’ll be dodging the Cup (R6) and the Queen Elizabeth (R5) but might try Marquardt (R8, No5) to get out in the Hall Mark Stakes.

Not that I will have much time to follow the punt’s fortunes tomorrow or Monday, as I’m off to swing the Terry Lillis bag at Oakbank in the Adelaide Hills (see article elsewhere on this site). There will be big crowds and big fields and big hopes that the jumpers ply their craft safely so as to mute the pocket of placard wavers who will be baying for attention both this weekend and at the ‘Bool. It’s a tough task for jumps trainers this year with the two Carnivals almost colliding, allowing little scope for the best to show their wares in all the features. I notice the SA jumps authorities have been scathing of the ridiculous restrictions placed on their Vic counterparts who once again feel on trial at each obstacle. There are valid points in most arguments and we can discuss them some time, but I did note that Lee Freedman, when tipping his charge Above Average to win the Sydney Cup, said he’d popped him over some jumps to freshen him this week (an old trick), noting that “he’s a good jumper and he loves it!”.

Whatever your plans for the holiday weekend, I hope they are fulfilled happily, safely and, for punters, favourably.  Good luck!


  1. Crio,

    As mentioned elsewhere, very keen on SHOOT OUT in the All-Aged. $12 at the moment. What’s the forecast for track conditions at Randwick tomorrow?

    Re Lee Freedman, I remember he put Tawriffic over a few jumps before he won the Cup so its a proven method of sharpening them up.

  2. If I was to bet in the Cup, I reckon Above Average is the one.
    are you going to butter up on Muirfield?

    Also, at Caulfield, try Paddy O’Reilly E/W in the Cup. Up in class but racing well, bolted in at a Cranbourne trial and Smerdon is really hitting his traditional ‘Bool straps.

  3. Really can’t see any way Muirfield can improve 10 lengths and beat the toppy. Thats without looking at the rest of the field.

  4. Peter Flynn says:

    Don’t know what to make of Shoot Out. Big spring campaign.

    Looks wet (again) in Sydney. Suggest slow track form.

  5. tim dixon says:

    Chris, are you going to the almanac lunch on friday??

    I will be in melbourne next week, am going to jethro tull at the palais on the thursday night.

    if you are going I might pop in and say g’day, as I thought otherwise I would not know anyone there,

    have met JH a couple of times but I feel like a bit of an outsider,

    let me know


  6. Peter Flynn says:

    Don’t worry Tim.

    Just turn up.

    You’ll be in conversation about 15 seconds after your first bar purchase.

  7. tim dixon says:

    Thanks Peter

    the first ones on me!

  8. Peter Flynn says:

    Sooner than 15 seconds.

  9. Peter Flynn says:

    Helmet’s done it again.

    On fire in Sydney. (for once).

  10. CB,
    Well tipped. Paddy o’reilly was a good get. I managed to snag the Sydney Cup winner and hang on to most of it despite Shoot Out debacle! Even had it in quaddy but missed 1st leg (as usual)- had 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th.

  11. Tim,
    Can’t get to the lunch as I’m working. Flynnie will mentor you!!

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