Crio’s Racing: Moonee Valley

We’re back at the Valley again this Saturday.

It’s rarely been a happy punting ground for me. But then, as I’ve noted elsewhere, I’ve inherited a tendency to look for the traditional “bookies’ chances” and there is a suspicion that they don’t exist in Moonee Ponds.

I listened to two old (ex) rails fielders reminiscing before the last meeting there…

“They always seem happy to take the cramped odds here”, noted former Miller’s Guide advertiser and feature doubles spruiker John H. Griffiths.

“That’s because they usually salute” added Syd Hill.

Present day oddsmen nodded sagely.

“Develop it?…blow the f’n joint up!” was the consensus.

In winter it is a small betting ring with a clutch of key punters. It’s a bit like the trots used to be. The fields aren’t large and the pattern of racing is vital. They usually narrow it down to 2 or 3 chances. We’ve given up on waiting for “the split” and try to keep one of the fancied runners as a winner whilst getting in to those who we are prepared to risk. The goal is to have some control over the business rather than just being reactive and at the mercy of the pros.

There’s next to no cash punters of any significance – I can name those who are relevant and will be there –  so 80%+ of our trade is with other bookies, commission agents, some nods and the phone. But it is an interesting cat and mouse type of scenario.

This site has been a good lead for the Quaddy over the past fortnight, urging wide in the first leg and skinny thereafter. Needless to say the very good divs have not landed in my betting account as I’m pretty much keeping the powder dry at the moment (waiting to send the tax return around!).

Tomorrow’s first leg (MV R5, 1200m) looks pretty straightforward. Rue Maple (3) should salute. I might whack in Ariarni (2) at odds, banking on the Vasil/Olly duo to work some magic.

The Moody/Nolen juggernaut presents Mr Make Believe at a tight quote in R6 (1514m) and they are gold. You cannot ignore their ability to salute when in the market. In a pretty good winter race, maybe include Mick Kent’s toppy, Philda.

IASbet reports solid early money (10 in to 8) for champion leaper Black and Bent in the “jumpers’ flat” (R7 2040m). Scout wide here. 6,8,1 and 11 as the blowout.

The last is a raffle. Rodd is riding beautifully so always be with him (MR8 No3, 1200m) but you might be looking to the F box here. It’s a good trifecta race to get out of jail. 5,8,10,11, birthdays, pin numbers and darts!

Remember to tune in if you are still up to see So You Think race again (Saturday night our time, Eclipse Stakes, 2000m, Sandown) in a very small yet highly credentialed field. His four opponents include the Arc winner, Workforce, whose trainer Michael Stoute has also accepted with a pacemaker. Seamus Heffernan takes over on So You Think from Ryan Moore, who chose to ride Workforce after slaughtering the former Aussie at Ascot. Early markets have So You Think at 4/5 and Workforce 2/1, with International Gr One winner Snow Fairy the other in the market.

From Sandown the features move on to Newmarket with the great July Cup meeting now less than a fortnight away. Great holiday viewing for the kids!

Good luck.




  1. david butler says

    Crio, are there trainers that the bagmen are scared of with lightly raced horses or when money comes for their horses? Or are the books more concerned about what the smart punters are doing like they are with the pros in the Canberra ring ?

    I lay the odd horse on Betfair and I am very cautious with laying Moody, Kavanagh and Mick Kent trained horses.

  2. David Downer says

    Nice insight into some of the bookie’s machinations there Crio.

    And a special nod to the unintentional use of the smiley face for Black and Bent’s market move into 8-1!

    I wasn’t aware that Ryan Moore had “chosen” to jump off So You Think for Workforce (I presumed he was sacked given his previous ride!). I think this heightens all our motivation to see him cop a whipping tomorrow night. Surely the new jock couldn’t butcher the champ as well in a five horse affair.

    I do note that the Eclipse Stakes of Sandown UK seems a bit more prestigous than the Eclipse Stakes of Sandown (on the cnr of Dandenong and Corrigan Road) in late November.

  3. David,
    bookies don’t like losing – be sickened when they smile!
    hmmm…Mick Kent. What a great trainer. A star with stayers. What about that first fav today?!

    I grew up in the adelaide betting ring. Ironically i remember that Les Samba’s 2 yr olds won when plonked. Guess that’s not an issue now.
    Also Sugarlips C.s. had multiple runners in each race, all of which had privately trialled at Lindsay Park. Mr Magic (BobR) and his posse of punters made the market. Impossible.
    I gather Adelaide bookies are gunshy when Kav lobs nowadays.
    The cheats on seats had a myriad of shifty bastards who’d sweat on their great opportunity. Often they came unstuck when a “boat race” when wrong. Brian Mitton was a beauty at Globe Derby.

    The world has changed dramatically with most money wagered off-course. M. O’Leary built an old fashioned reputation at the summer nights when he’d bring a float, a horse, some money and some magic. Gee, they did well.
    My theory is that the “hot runs” tend to be regional, almost as if certain sites find seasonal advantages. Kilmore, the Ballarat, Cranbourne, Flemington…very easy in this game to get paranoid. a healthy skepticism, however, is essential.
    Could go on forever. thanks for your comment.
    P.S…good winning day for us at MV!

  4. DD,
    Some of those flucs are a fair dinkum beat-up…it was always going to be $10! And a smiley face for us. Tough quaddy?

  5. Anyone watch So You Think?
    Budge has called it Australia’s best performed International middle distance horse.
    Not ranking Japan Cups??

    A long day (12 hrs) from You Think So (watch it when the money lobs) to So You Think.

  6. smokie88 says

    A combination of the Tour De France, Wimbledon womens’ final, and my wife being o/s made for a long night in front of the box.
    Crio, So You Think was awesome. Just a fantstic looking beast.If Rembrandt was to paint a horse, SYT would be his muse, surely!

  7. Huge call Smoke. A big black horse does look fantasic. Some great chestnuts too. There’sd a topic?
    And why Rembrandt?
    SYT was “a cert beat” at Ascot and a hard mile and a quarter looked perfect.

  8. David Downer says


    I stayed up for it and was rewarded for doing so.

    What a stirring match-race with Workforce. Who said five horse fields were dull affairs? SYT never looked like quite getting there until about the last 30 – he willed himself over the line in those last few strides so impressively. I then couldn’t help but think that maybe Ryan Moore went too early on Workforce this time! In any event, I hope he never sits on SYT’s back again, Stick with Seamus.

    Is A.O’Brien now throwing some burley out there by suggesting he could come back for the Cox Plate? Wouldn’t that pack ’em in at the Valley …but it won’t happen.

  9. good burley DD
    Keeps it “our” horse.

    Looking forward to the Newmarket Carnival

  10. Tony Riordan says

    If they ever put a compentent jock on board he will be unbeatable. He was way too good for the Arc winner even though the pilot seemed to take a furlong to decide whether to go for an inside run or pull him to the outside.
    As for his looks, he is a freak. Others I have declared as great lookers in the past (Zabeel, Fastnet Rock, Chief Singer) fall into line behind SYT. Black Caviar is a different beast altogether- another freak but can’t compare mares with stallions.

  11. hard to disagree.
    The King was a nice black horse.
    Viscount’s progeny have a certain type.

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