Successful trainers know how to “place” their horses. Those with real good ‘uns follow the Group circuit whereas others pick the eyes out of provincials and secondary meetings. It is fair to say that there are plenty of options – a three horse race at TAB/TVN venue Terang on Tuesday coincided with the release of next season’s calendar and an admission that there is a seasonal glut.
Melbourne ratifies the end of its “big” Saturdays by offering the Bendigo Jockey Club a chance to host Victoria’s premier meeting – with prizemoney approaching a million dollars. This has to be a continuing trend as country clubs can join with their communities to promote their region, their racing and benefit during what would otherwise be dull days in the metropolitan area.
The highlight of the Bendigo card is the Golden Mile (MR7, $150,000) though the richest prize is the VOBIS Goldrush, a 2yo incentive race (MR5). There are heaps of acceptors and lots of really good races to entice fans up the Calder for a weekend in a lovely town and a chance to enjoy a terrific racecourse. The Quaddy is characterized by big fields and bigger challenges.
MR6- (Gold Bracelet, 1400m, mares)
Good field. Secret Liaison (1), scratched from a City Group race for this, has been flying and must be put on top. Despite the gate and hoop, Valrouz (9) is way overs at 16/1.
MR7- (Golden Mile)
Wall Street (1) goes around again as one of the favs! Leave me out. However, I may have to send good money after bad one absolutely (I promise) final time with New York (12) at the 16/1.
MR8- (Bendigo Guineas, 1400m, 3yo)
Interesting race. Leaning towards toppy, Pronto Pronto, upon noms but it is now from gate 20 (and thus 25/1) and there are stacks of chances, several of which (12,6,4) have drawn poorly. General Peekay (5), with S.Arnold up, might get the cosy run and be good value at about 12/1.
MR9- (1300m, Hcp)
Close your eyes and touch your toes. 18, 14, 7…trust the better jockeys.
If a 90 minute hike to the goldfields is not your fancy there’s another racing option nearer Melbourne to consider on Saturday. The Geelong St Patrick’s Racing Club offers Irish revellers a chance to kick start St Paddy’s celebrations a day early at their annual and well supported Charity Day. Details on line.
Woolamai provide the picnic venue for those southeast of the CBD, whilst the eastern fringes must wait for Sunday’s big Yarra Valley Cup Day – a welcome return to the timetable for the old Yarra Glen.
Friday night it is the Alister Clark Stakes meeting, the second last Valley Night. The feature has had a chequered recent history, fluctuating between the mile and 2040m and not really producing the winners of its heyday – though last year the runner-up, Ethiopia, hinted at future AJC Derby glory. The 2013 edition (Friday night, MR6, 2040m, G2, 3yo) contains a small field.2,3,1. There are some good support races, held every 30 minutes and the weather forecast is promising. The next week will be mayhem so if you’ve been intending a night under the lights this is a best option. First of 8 at 6.45pm.
If you are, however, looking for the best horses and races, then (BC night aside) turn your formguide to Sydney for the next month or so. Warwick Farm hosts the ATC’s big meeting on Saturday, a quality card highlighted by the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (SR6, 1600m, 3yo) and the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (SR7, 1000, WFA).
Support races include the G3s for 2yo Slipper aspirants – the Skyline (SR2, 1200m, 2yoc+g) for the boys and the Sweet Embrace (SR4, 1200m) for fillies, in which Clarrie Connors presents his highly rated Assail (1).
The Randwick Guineas (SR6, 1600m, G1, 3yo) reinforces what a great crop we have this year…. no All Too Hard or Pierro here, nor the emergent Australian Cup winner Super Cool – yet still there is an outstanding field and the prospect of a mouth watering clash between Proisir (3) and Rebel Dane (7).
The Challenge Stakes (SR7, 1000m, G2, WFA) touts the return of Hay List – there remain doubts (Wednesday evening) about him starting. Let’s hope that if he does line up then he is able to reproduce his best and worthy to inherit the mantle of Australia’s best sprinter when SHE steps down.
Be sure to watch the Sydney races as winners galore will flow from this meeting through the Carnival ahead.
Get to the races before footy floods the market. There is, as I’ve alluded, no shortage of fascinating options. Looking at the national schedule I could not help but be distracted by the listing of a meeting in Texas on Saturday. This southern Qld town – Peter Hitchener’s birthplace!! – has been granted an extra meeting in a noble incentive by the Government… http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2012/11/1/texas-to-holdem–new-country-race-date-for-2013 It’s on the Darling Downs – Gunsynd’s territory(??). Classic country stuff. 5 races but plenty of noms. I must admit that the eye was drawn to trainer Colin Hayes who has 4 runners engaged!! http://www.risa.com.au/InteractiveForm/TrainerLastRuns.aspx?trainercode=NDQzNTkwOTky
Funnily enough he faces the might of the Smith challengers – no TJ here, but 5 trainers bearing the surname of one of CS’s most prominent rivals!
Other than their famous names, what these trainers share with the Hall of Famers is the quest for the right race and conditions to get a winning prize. It’s a cut throat game. Saturday’s Bendigo Goldrush and a Texas Hold-em have the same time-honoured motive of trying to beat someone else to earn a quid.
Good luck if you are playing this weekend.