Almanac New Year Racing

Why is New Year’s Day time-honoured for racing clubs? This has always confused and amused me.

Many people are “dusty” and scarcely need to back-up on another big ‘un. WA mates have horror stories of scorching Perth Cup hangovers at Ascot.

What it does, I always reckoned, was give us a chance to renege on any stupid resolutions before they became too nagging in ensuing weeks. Hence, I’d lob at Vic Pk (SA) before the first race of the year, have a beer, a smoke and a bet – thereby allaying any ongoing stressful commitments – and declare normal programming resumed!

But, somehow, a glance at the national racing calendar reveals a magnificent array of meetings across the nation. I’ve had Jan 1 punts at Marlo Bush races, the picnics at Hanging Rock, Burrumbeet under a tin roof betting ring and this Saturday (again) at Flemington’s Standish/Bagot Day.

Without having tackled the form in any detail, I will suggest wariness at the sudden hardness of tracks. Those relishing some cushion will need to head to Brissie or beyond.

Melbourne’s Quaddy opens with the 2800m Bagot. Top weight Macedonian is going very well. Watch the improving Titus Vinius (12) and maybe Pergola (6) for exotics. Smerdon’s new gun Eclair Mystic (7) will be the one to watch in the Standish (R6, 1200m). Maybe box with Secret Flyer (2) and Miss Octopussy (5). Lucky Eighty Eight (5) could be the go in Race 7. Lord Pindarri (9) and Macknuckle (1) are worth consideration.

I’d be looking for a speed map for the last. 1400 at Flemington is a leader’s doddle if no pace is on. Best hopes appear to be 2, 13 and 7.

The wise tip, of course, is to bet within your means.

Have a happy and healthy New Year…and maybe even a happy, healthy win!


  1. O’Brien’s is apparently a good thing in the first.

  2. back round 1990 got invited to Perth Cup with an invitation to Tentland. I had visions of the Birdcage or at worst the Nursery Car Park. Got to the track in 40 plus heat and and was shown to an area that looked like it had been put up by the Scouts. Had to walk 150m to get a beer or have bet. Also had to buy food. Only benefit it offered was shade. Whole place was wasted by 4pm so they had wisely scheduled the Cup for 5.30. Ascot has no public transport so we walked back to the Casino..

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