Almanac Racing: Craiglee Stakes Day

I used to love Craiglee Stakes Day, though that was a double-edged sword. We’d jokingly say that it suited Doggies fans perfectly coming one Saturday after our season finished and allowing us to get to Flemington and see the freshly-weighted Spring stars step out over a mile and, in the Ascot Vale, watch the former juveniles return down the straight as they tried to boost stud values and maybe plot a Guineas path. The regular downside was that such an early immersion in the Spring often meant an empty kitty by the time the Cups Carnivals arrived!

Both the Bulldogs and this meeting have faced changes in recent times, most notably the changing of names – the Craiglee is now dubbed after a horse and probably ensures a commemoratively Slow track and compromised racing! But I’ll try to overlook my displeasure at change and focus on this very good race, won in the past by some of my favourites –  from Zabeel, through Sky Heights and Northerly, to Pompeii Ruler and Weekend Hussler. The winner invariably earns a “boom” rating. I am a big fan of Vigor at Flemington so expect him to defend last year’s trophy.

Ridiculously, the VRC have recently moved the Ascot Vale to Derby Day (overkill) and now have the (R6) Danehill Stakes relocated to this card – thus the honor roll is not as impressive , but it will become thus as trainers show their support for this calendar spot. It is a fantastic 1200m race with heaps of chances. Star Witness looks a perfect Flemington horse but I’ll have a close eye on the impeccably bred Columbus, a surprise debut winner who was immediately “put away” until this. Soul, Military Rose and Buffering are others likely to be in the market.

The third leg of the Quaddy is the time-honored Bobbie Lewis Quality, named in honor of the legendary hoop who dominated Melbourne racing for decades. This is a terrific field. There are enormous wraps on Love Conquers All so, if he handles the track, he should win. Of the others, Doubtful Jack is flying, Leica Larrikin loves the course and We’re Gonna Rock is the “blow-out”, with untapped potential but queries to be addressed. Fascinating race.

The last leg is a raffle and, hurried now, I’ll need to do some study and look at racing patterns. The Let’s Elope (R5), a really good mares’ race, should have been the closer.

Sydney, too, has some good racing, especially in the middle of the card. R4, Furious Stakes for 3 yr old fillies; R5, Chelmsford, 1600m including Theseo and Metal Bender; R6, Tramway, 1400m.

Weather permitting, I might sneak down to HQ for a couple en route to Flemington. Any tips will be appreciated.


  1. John Butler says


    At least from a Ballarat perspective, it’s looking like a wet track. :)

    Anyone got a spare boat?

  2. Big spruik on Columbus.

  3. Mark Freeman says

    Nicastro each-way and Uxorious in Adelaide for me today. Nicastro going around in 15mins, go you good thing

  4. Freeza,
    Do you remember the punting lesson last year…HORSES FOR COURSES?
    Shocking and Doubtful Jack are unbeaten at Flemington!

  5. Crio,

    I did get on Shocking ($23 on Betfair). Great ride, great win. Agree – follow the horses for courses rule through the Spring.

  6. mark freeman says

    Think you might find Crio that Adam may have mentioned horses for courses to Eve in the Garden – it’s been around for a bit!

    Asides from Kav’s boy’s effort, probably best to disregard today’s form for when the tracks dry out.

    Uxorious won very nicely, good progressive sprinter.

  7. Well done mate. I stayed out of the ring today.

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