A change of Gears at the Caulfield Guineas

 by Mark Makybe Freeman

The mistake I made, punters, was to agree to frock up and take advantage of the corporate largesse on offer. Gears had lucked into some passes handed over by a buddy, and in we went under the assumed names.

I’m still only coming good now – the reason for this “come in with the late news Eric Pearce” report.

But we did have a spectacular day, if not so much on the punt, then most certainly on the sauce. So in keeping with what’s left of the memory banks, just a few impressions from me.

If they haven’t already, Knackers are strongly advised to head to the main ring and scour it for the Turfbet stand, where you’ll be able to witness consummate bag-man, the Knackery’s very own Chris “Crio” Riordan swing the satchel.

“Yes sir,” he lurches forward, paw outstretched, grabbing a handful of cash from the passing punter.

At this point it’s fair to report that Crio made good with his offer of top odds to Knacker punters made on this site earlier in spring, and looked after Gears and I with better than what was on offer elsewhere in the ring.

And if you’re lucky enough to collect, you get a proper old-style send off after he reaches in for the readies.

We were also lucky enough to bump into good judge Budge at the Turfbet stand, but missed other Knackers probably only by a whisker at Beaver’s stand. Nonetheless, you should have seen the heads swing round when I called out: “Any Knackers?”

We also had a chinwag with a racing scribe who filled us in on the real Jimmy Cassidy story, and later at the Railway we caught up with J.T. Harms, flushed with his Starspangledbanner success. (See his great yarn on these pages.)

And as Crio and Budge have pointed out, the other excellent get – probably now the Knacker spring clubhouse leader – was Elvis on these pages tipping Allez Wonder, paying $41 for the Toorak win.

We managed to include it in our quaddie so were on good terms with ourselves until the Guineas, where we left out the Banner.

But even if we had him, we would have been rolled in the last leg – which is the lesson of the day: Always, ALWAYS take the field in the mares 1200m last leg of the quaddie. You just couldn’t have had that thing that won, and it’s happened a number of times in previous years.

But to cut to the chase: Daff, we got rolled.

All American is, as Crio flagged last week, a cat, and he’s now out of the stable. Sid on the other hand performed well – he was not good enough to beat the winner, but certainly would have finished closer had he not been held up on the turn, so will keep for the Moonee Valley or Geelong cups.

Master O’Reilly put in a cracking good Caulfield Cup run in the Yalumba, and surely now something just has to go wrong for Whobe to be denied the Cox Plate.

Daff I won’t be back to raid the tin until Friday for the Caulfield Cup… at which I will be making a far more civilised appearance.


  1. Thanks for the endorsement Makybe. The send-off you noted was possibly triggered by your well-meaning, rousing and fairly tuneless spruiking endorsing our august business! And yes, Knackers welcome, just preferably slightly off-peak to capitalise on our generosity. And let me know if any post-races pots are planned for nearby.

  2. Mark Freeman says

    Yes Crio we’ll plan better next time. Had expected to be on the train to Mentone by 6, but ended up unwisely putting more away across the road.

    Fair bit of rain about, have to come up slow tomorrow I would have thought.

  3. Radar’s looked awful but here in Flemington it has only started raining in the last hour. I’d be very wary of tomorrow’s meeting.

  4. Mark Freeman says

    Fill up day for TurfBet… you’ll need to fill the bag in prep for Saturday!

  5. BTW, is the title Daff’s dig at your partner in crime from Saturday? I found him to be an exemplary client (to my knowledge he had no collect) and thus welcome back as long as that habit remains.
    Serious rain at Caulfield. The track got real hard last Saturday and they’ll skid around the corner tomorrow.

  6. Craig Down says


    Given rain, perhaps Jolie Brise a chance in the 1000 and Purple (although maybe a touch short in distance) a prospect in the second last?

  7. Lads,

    Gigs is in the chair this week. But yes I’d say the heading was written with Young Mick Geary in mind.

    I once saw Gears go berserk at centre half-forward while playing for Old Paradians against North Old Boys at the time-honoured Gillon Oval. (Did you know John Curtain once played there?)

    Suitably roused by an impassioned plea from coach Peter Bedford, Mick took marks and kicked goals as OPs rebounded from a 10-goal half-time deficit to score a win for the ages.

    Sounds like quite the opposite of his performance on Saturday.

  8. Yeah that was me with the title. (You know I can’t resist a pun, Crio.) Daff’s story just makes it all the more appropriate!

  9. mick geary says

    Thanks for reprising fond memories Daff, albeit a decade on. Not surprisingly, Peter Bedford was the only Brownlow Medallist under whom I played – a great bloke too.

    And Crio – please note I have a winning ticket (Hissing Sid each-way) in my wallet from Turfbet. Mark and I visited your stand after the last on Saturday (and once the free beers had dried up). Alas you were gone (as was we).

    Mark will pay you a visit this Saturday to collect – I will be at home playing scrabble with the young fella and watching the action on the box.

    And as for the heading pun, I can assure all Knackers I’ve been in neutral all week.

  10. Another chance to pay out on and to Freezer…looking forward to it already!
    I can put your bets on at top fluc if you want to call, though I’ll be heading to junior cricket soon after 730 Saturday morning en route to The Heath.
    Might be better off cheating at scrabble. What about making your urchin play under sports names (incl horses) only…it will lure him to the form guide and hence on to TVN for the day?
    Hope to catch up again during the Carnival.

  11. Mark Freeman says

    Crio I can attest that when Mick says scrabble with the young fella, he’s talking about the time between 11.30 and midday. As soon as the TV coverage fires up, young William, 7, racing fanatic, will switch on the box and start barracking.

    The boy is obsessed, and Gears copped serious grief in the earhole from the lad when he found out his dad was off to the track without him.

    And I’m sure Gears won’t mind if I try to make hay with his Sid collect…

  12. mick geary says

    Crio, thanks for the offer, but I won’t trouble you on the dog and bone. I will, however, give Freeza some riding instructions vis-a-vis the collect. Am finally coming good from the weekend and will have a look tonight.

    And yes, young William is indeed a big fan of the turf. He has two framed pictures of TGM (The Great Mare) hanging in his bedroom and his favourite DVD is also on TGM. No surprise they were provided by one Mark Freeman.

  13. Freezer,
    A writer in the Post has ther simple solution to getting some silverware for your beloved Hissing Sid. Bring back “The Hok”. Wayne Hokai has ridden him for all of his wins.

  14. Mark Freeman says

    Very sensible idea. These fancy pants city jocks have no idea how to treat a proper bush legend. All this pushing through narrow gaps, hustle and bustle… yes bring back the Hok

  15. So should we take the field for the 1100m Mares race to finish the quaddie this week?

  16. Absolutely – looks like a field race to me.

    Early tip – Sniper’s Bullet in R5. Beautifully weighted and wet no problems.

    D Oliver/L Cumani combo in the Cup looks hard to beat. I know it got beat 10 lengths by Sea The Stars but it gave it 5kgs and the rest of the Cup field wouldn’t be worthy to be in the same County let alone same race as the Arc winner.

    Having said that, I have a long standing rule to ignore the imports (apart from trifecta chances) so will probably plonk on Viewed. Every run this time in has been good and the wet is no worries for him.

    Neroli in R6 is the other one I’m keen on at this stage. Great run last start and eats the mud.

  17. Freeza, where is All Silent Saturday? One-track wonder?

  18. Mark Freeman says

    No point faffing about in group 2s when you’re the best horse in the country.

    Budge the muppets at Caulfield are trying to sell a good track for Saturday. Have been in the local park here in Mentone, was clearly a dead track, with plenty of surface moisture.

    We might only know after the first the truth of the matter.

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