Julia Gillard is set to announce another surprise “Captain’s pick” this week to bolster her team for the Feehan Stakes Day election.
“Horses”, she will bellow, “have helped grow this country. They are part of our History and our psyche – yet remain unrepresented in Parliament.”
“Big Red” is right, of course, and Black Caviar is a savvy nom. The Champ’s a winner and proven vote getter, as will be evident on Saturday when MRC officials anticipate a spike in attendance to see the mighty mare (BC) in a gallop after Race 3. As usual, she’ll be the centre of attention with the now familiar attendant flags and face painting – to be honest, most of her wins have been little more than a training canter so the club is saving on a $200,000 stake and still getting the gravy.
The publicity garnered will be great for the weeks ahead as she transcends the TVN media and reaches the demographic that, incredibly, assumes our sport shuts down after spring.
The meeting itself could do with the novelty spark as, despite 4 Listed races (listed as what?!), the Carnival is still a week from ignition.
My main interest will be in the first of the Listed events (MR2, 1100m), a scamper for 2yr olds which will add to an already fascinating build up towards the 2013 Blue Diamond. At present the Features ante-post has unnominated Miracles of Life 7/4 followed by Sydney’s Guelph and then last week’s black booker Thermal Current. But these markets are very fluid.
Bookies have marked Saturday’s dash a race in two. The safe option, Metastasio (10), is 6/4 on the back of a comprehensive Flemington performance when a very strong tip on debut. The Darley juveniles are red hot. Metastasio is also arguably the best named of this year’s crop – by Street Cry out of Libretto.
Next pick is Robert Smerdon’s unraced Politeness (12), scratched from MV and already plonked for the Diamond. Remarkably her choice of Caulfield has left G.Boss dual committed – one assumes he will opt for this filly above the toppy, Shamus Award.
Another runner which invokes vivid memories is D.A.Hayes’ “second stringer” The Yowie (2). By the great Redoute’s Choice, he is out of the exhilarating I Got Chills – one of the best debutantes ever. Her tale can be long, fascinating, successful and ultimately underachieving… but suffice to say she was 14/1 in to 4/1 for a first-up sting in the Maribyrnong Trial which still sends chills down the spine (do they have one?) of fielders on course that day. Hayes claims that at the 4/1 SP she was great value and rates her the best of his 2yr olds!
MR3 is unremarkable in many ways other than being named for one of the most amazing colts to race last century – the enigmatic Manfred. Maybe he should be the patron saint of desperate punters – erratic, excitable, tardy early but still capable of reeling them in. Manfred won the 1925 Victoria Derby by 12 lengths. In the Cox Plate he bucked the start, half skittled the field and won by a pimple. “In the AJC Derby, Manfred missed the start by a half furlong. At the half mile he was two lengths behind the last horse. Amounis hit the lead but within half a furlong Manfred was up with Amounis and into the straight settled down to win running away.” As a four year old, he won the Caulfield Cup carrying 9st 6lb. His waywardness got worse and he went to stud, siring Cups winner The Trump. What a horse. Maybe this memorial to him should be a mobile start! 5 is the omen.
Once again our sprinting stocks look shallow, with the W.J.Adams Stakes (MR4, 1000m, Listed) receiving just 7 acceptors, 2 of which are @ 50/1. Despite that it is an interesting little field. Perhaps 4 from 2.
For those Quaddy players, here’s an early overview-
MR5- 2000m. Listed. 8,4,6 (1 has blinkers 1st time)
MR6- 1600m. Summer Final. 12,9,4. Beware Froggy on New Boy.
MR7- 1400m. A “result race”. Looking for inspiration. E/W 9?
MR8- 1400m. tough. 17 a show?
After this week we are into the thick of it and can enjoy the limelight pre-footy. For those near Melbourne, this might be the last chance to miss a metro meeting for a while – can I recommend (if the weather clears) a trip to Kyneton. It is a beautiful course and this meeting is the semi-sad running of the Woodend Cup – a great event but in some ways commemorating another wonderful course which is only a memory – I seem to recall that it died via a move to Quarter Horse sprints? Thankfully Kyneton still has its picturesque base barely beyond the suburban sprawl yet peacefully on the banks of the Campaspe River. For those in the Eastern ‘burbs, Healesville picnics are always a fabulous option.
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Tip wildly but bet responsibly. And good luck!