Almanac Racing – a lettuce leaf for lunch and a durry for dessert

Although RV schedules winter inducements for racing participants, unavoidably it is “off-peak”. In truth the horses, trainers and hoops that are good enough seek the Queensland sun and those who can afford it get to Royal Ascot. Sandown, where the Valley meeting has been shunted this Saturday, doesn’t sell postcards.

Understandably the casual observer gets distracted by footy and, in this era of cable TV, European summer treats, but those race lovers wanting to persist are often rewarded by emerging stars seizing the opportunities presented through June and July.

In past seasons we’ve discussed the wisdom of following sires with offspring that thrive in the mud. The problem here has sometimes been a lack of real Heavy tracks. A look at Hamilton on Monday confirmed that they do still exist and that the old maxim remains true.

The other joy to be found in “winter watching” is the emergence of a new wave of hoops. In recent seasons D.Lane and S.Clipperton have been highlighted. The Gauch’s “Indian Summer” triggers memories of his comet when, as an apprentice, he burst on to the Melbourne metropolitan scene in the 1980s. Whilst unlikely to make such an immediate and dramatic impact, there will still be chances for young apprentices to use their claim and for others to form relationships with the bigger stables – a “Spring”board to fame and fortune.

The demographics of the riding ranks is changing. I worked for a time at RISA where the national picture is clearer – we were formalising mounts from Randwick to Roma and the proportion of females was apparent – up north it seemed to be predominantly girls or even a newer wave of lightweight Asians. The rationale is simple – easier to make the weight makes the job more appealing. Surely a better fed and muscled frame is ultimately preferred to a hungry dehydrated pilot! How some of those blokes can concentrate when on Higgs’ old “cigar diet” is astounding (the great Professor existed on “birdseed, water, cigars, asthma medications, black coffee, appetite suppressants and sips of Scotch”. When he retired he declared an ambition to become “the little fat man that I’m meant to be”. He kept his word.)

The knock-on effect is now being seen in the city. Here’s the latest RV school’s intake – only one boy.

For the time being, however, my nominations for riders to watch are traditional – Regan Bayliss, Benny Allen, Ben E. Thompson. Harry Coffey and Dylan Dunn are already making inroads against senior opposition. Those who watch more regionally will doubtless have their own spruiks.

It’s a dangerous game but in most cases these riders have a love of the horse and an affinity with horseracing. The rich rewards contrast with the inherent risks – highlighted dramatically in recent weeks as banner-girl Michelle tumbled at Echuca and now, rather than heading to England’s features, she’s facing intrusive surgery and possible retirement!

I look forward to hearing some suggestions for “the next wave” from fellow Almanackers.

Meantime, most active punters will be looking to Eagle Farm where the main action will take place. The days G1 is tha Oaks. Capacity field of many chances. I hinted last week that I’ve reservations about the “new” track so I’ll stay away this week and see how it plays under the conditions. It’s a good strategy for a bloke seriously out of form. Good luck!


  1. Massive chance that both Sydney and the big meeting at Eagle Farm will be washed out. Eastern seaboard has rain of biblical proportions forecast.

  2. G’day Crio, can you give us any odds for Federal Election multiples? What would a double of Adam Bandt and Cathy McGowan return ? Can i abet like this ?


  3. Unfortunately I am in the Bandit’s electorate. Green is a notoriously unlucky colour for gamblers (presumably a British anti-Irish slur?). Don’t know McGowan. You can bet on whatever you like. Elections are like anything else – back self-interest cos you know it is trying.

  4. Glen…$1.20 the double…$1.05 Brandt and $1.15 McGowan.

  5. yeah Budge, those meetings look doomed. Rosehill’s an 8 and it hasn’t started raining properly yet. Brisbane’s forecast is cataclysmic,,,been happy to pot the BRC re delayed Eagle Farm prep but this weather would overwhelm Geelong synthetic. The questions, of course, surround what they do with the (presumably washed out) Oaks Day and how can the track recover for the Straddy day next week?

  6. Ta Crio & Higgo. Jack Lang was spot on when he said back self interest; at least it’s trying.

    Now i’ve just got to find a bookie to take that double.

    Oh, by the by, there’s races in Albury on Saturday.


  7. Glen, I got those prices from Sportsbet so they will bet you.
    Good luck.

  8. Couldn’t find anything to be too enthused about in Melb or Adel, maybe something on Where’s Tim in Adel race 3 at the $21.
    Will reserve judgement on Syd and Bris till the morning when we know whether or not they are on. Will be joining in on the heavy if they run.

  9. Apologies for not referencing the big weekend at Epsom…Oaks then Derby.
    4 runners have paid the 75,000pound late entry fee for the Derby!
    Likely soft track there.

  10. Uninspiring day but I like Heart of a Lion in the 7th in Adelaide and El Greco in the 3rd in Melb. Dodgy is spruiking Bassett in the 8th in Melb and it doesn’t even have a gear change but he’s on fire at present.

    Well done Elvis on a win during the week..overdue.

  11. For anyone that’s interested, the QTC Cup and Qld Oaks will be run next Sat.

  12. Sandown last Saturday – Dwayne Dunn rode a double as he chases a Jockey Premiership.
    The other 7 races went to “claimers”.
    Ben E Thompson (-3) rode a double
    Ben Allen (-3), Jess Payne (-3), Jake Bayliss (-2), Dylan Dunn (-2) and Tom Sadler (-2) one apiece.
    Up in Sydney, on a serious bog, apprentice K.Jennings (-2) snagged 4!

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