Almanac Racing – duck the dunny door


We’re having some false dawns this Spring – the weather and the races both promise to heat up but don’t yet consistently deliver.

Nowadays Prelim Finals weekend means Underwood Stakes Day at Caulfield and, with few footy distractions and (touch wood) a fine forecast, plenty of people could be expected to flock to the Heath’s beautiful lawns and enjoy a Spring entrée. I’m tipping that they’ll enjoy themselves but, if the calibre of the card is your concern, there’s still a lack of depth in the offerings. That Carnival bank needs to be protected. Gamble responsibly.

The highlights are a pair of strong Group Ones and the gender based Guineas Preludes.

I need someone to explain to me the classification principles underlying the 3yo races.

The Thousand Guineas Prelude (MR5, 1400m, 3yoF, SWP) offers $200K in prizemoney and G2 status.

Confusingly, the Caulfield Guineas Prelude (MR6, 1400m, 3yoC+G, SWP), a springboard to an undeniably superior race, carries $25K less and is G3. Go figure!

We discussed the same anomaly for the 2yo Diamond aspirants back in Feb – then the excuse was that the girls had stronger juvenile formlines… a self-fulfilling prophecy when the extra money earned escalated more in to the final field.

Here, though, they’re not even on a collision course. The boys head to the prestigious, elite “Stallions’ Race”, a Carnival highlight, while the girls contest an often skinny and even irrelevant G1.

Presumably there’s a conspiracy theory/scam which explains the strategy.

On Saturday I expect Stay With Me (4) to get the nod in MR5 whilst 3 + 5 are two of many chances in the  Quaddy kick-off (MR6).

The first of the Group Ones is the Underwood Stakes (MR7, 1800m, WFA), easily the pick of the national offerings. Anytime there’s The Cleaner involved, the speedmap is easy and the pace is genuine. Fawkner (and Olly) deserve favouritism but many of his opponents will consider themselves to have been unlucky last start and to be “on the improve”. Contributer must step up – topically, it’s “Show Time” for him. I’m going 6, 4, 1 + 9 but might miss completely. Excellent race.

The Rupert Clarke (MR8, 1400m, H’cp, G1) is a Toorak-esque sort of raffle. Should be a spirited betting race. Some of these (ref: 7,9,11,16) have been cruelled by the draw. 12 then 10 are pretty obvious inclusions for multis but, again, you’ll need to bracket plenty and be prepared to miss. I’ll probably give Gregers another chance and snatch the 33/1 on offer.


SYDNEY! I could just about reprise last year’s lament regarding Rosehill’s offerings. Here’s a day when iconic names are memorialised and decorated with due status, yet the fields simply don’t stack up. And how can you trust the tracks up there? After last week’s debacle, Sydney’s sacked.


Not much else to report.

Moonee Valley starts its night season on Friday. It is a terrible meeting but, with maybe a mild night, a pretty good outing if you’re in the area.

Over in SA the Gawler Cup is a Sunday fixture and hopefully a success – no longer is this a country venue as the sprawl has pushed out to what is a redeveloped and excellent venue.


I’m pulling my head in – if it was raining palaces, I’d get hit by the dunny door.

Might wander down to the Action Attraction on Friday night and will be on the Elliott computer at Caulfield on Saturday.

Any tips or tidbits welcomed.

Good luck!



  1. My theory on the group rating and prizemoney issue ( you didn’t specify you wanted an explanation from someone who knows what they’re talking about-I’m sure Budge can fill that gap):
    Breeders are pulling the strings-, all the fillies are potential breeders racing in a group 2 with potential to add a lot of value, the colts ( and geldings) in the race are likely to only produce 1 or 2 stallion prospects so the breeders prefer to get group 2 fillies rather than a group winning gelding.

  2. Breeders certainly screw RNSW.
    It’s the best theory so far Jock!

  3. Blame the pattern committee!

    Group 1 – 64 races – minimum prizemoney A$350,000
    Group 2 – 83 races – minimum prizemoney A$175,000
    Group 3 – 112 races – minimum prizemoney A$115,000
    Listed Races – 280 races – minimum prizemoney A$80,000

    Female version:
    1983–1999 – Listed race
    2000–2012 – Group 3
    2013 onwards – Group 2

    Male version:
    1985–2000 – Listed Race
    2001 onwards – Group 3

  4. I still don’t understand, Judge.
    And what about some tips while you’re at it – Heath’s black shorts for you I assume?

  5. combine the theories… the pattern committee is run by the breeders or people working on their behalf because they are the ones who have all the money. Nothing like a good conspiracy.

  6. Theories aside (you guys appear more knowledgeable than I on this issue), a few early selections for the weekend….

    Syd 4…Alart looks good value at $12, hard to see her missing a place really, Flamboyant Lass the obvious one to beat but 1400?

    If Amanpour rushes to the lead then it gives Slightly Sweet some hope, if not, pace could be poor and fav just wins.

    Hard not to like Dandino’s couple of runs this time in, has drawn awkwardly so will naturally go back however will be charging home at big odds. In the Rupert Clarke Disposition ticks almost every box although a few roughies look well in, Petrology ($41) is clearly well in at weights and Yesterday’s Songs ($34) is flying but will need luck again from the gate.

    Good luck to all and we will all be digging deeper once we have a clearer picture of conditions etc.

  7. I’m reconsidering my rating of the Caulfield meeting.
    Looking forward to it.

  8. My Eyes glaze over when i see the word ‘prelude’.. like those garbage derby and oaks trials at Geelong.
    Bloody awful Stan Fox in Sydney and just for a change showers forecast.
    Higgo, thought Dandino was poor first up, but ok last start in a muddling run race.

  9. Budge, heard a pom previewing the Europeans early yesterday on UZ, reckons Order of St.George is far and away their best in the cups, and gave a huge wrap Arod in the Cox, reckons it is a heap better horse than Adelaide.
    Also watched the Tenno Sho a heap of times yesterday, boy was there some runs out of that, the winner was amazing (but not making the trip), the 2nd horse Fame Game(which is coming) was oustanding.

  10. I like a few at Caulfield:
    Sabatini in the 3rd, looks well in with 54Kg and I like to see the Sydney-siders before getting on board at Caulfield.
    At First Sight is in a winnable race in the 4th
    Jameka EW forever in the 5th, was very strong 1st up and could yet be the best 3yo filly.
    Roughie, Last Bullet in the 6th. I wasn’t that keen last time out but its run surprised me and extra distance should really suit.
    Roughie, Fast N Rocking in the last, something could come over the top of them as there is a lot of speed and some wide barriers and I don’t want to try the 4/1 Under the Louvre.
    Underwood looks very open but maybe Contributor will improve enough to win oror maybe Mongolian Khan.

    Adelaide is an average meeting on the inner track but Tuscan Ranger is a good hope in the 7th if it can hold a first 6 position from the barrier. Best race of the day is the last and Magic Boy will be the one getting all the favours off a lead that will be disputed by many of the runners, Mio Dio and Almighty Bullet are also chances…I think leaders will knock up in this one.

  11. Thanks Jock. Mind reader. I was thinking Sabatini looks the safe option. Must say Gator has been emphatic about the fav.

  12. Anyone prepared to eulogise Zabeel?

  13. Tough meeting at the Heath. Hard stride looks to be overs inR3 as does Alaskan Rose at the $7 quoted in the fillies prelude. The colts version is very open so happy to try Dal Cielo or Last Bullet at good odds. The Underwood is very tough. Prepared to forgive Contributer for first up run and expect the real one to stand up here.
    Agree with Higgo. Will be having a dabble on Petrology in rupert Clarke.

  14. Looks a day for the faves at Doomben but here are my best each way hopes all at $10 plus
    R1 Diamond Fund
    R4 Collar
    R5 Lady Echelon
    R6 Skip Course
    R8 Specific Choice/ Topending

    If Dal Cielo races well at caulfield it enhances the form lines of Hardline in R6 Doomben half an hour later.

  15. Fawkner has presented very well in the yard.

  16. Fawkner was struggling 300 out and goes down a 1/2 tough?

  17. Hit a flat spot didn’t he?

    The Cleaner very brave.

    Improved since the trainer has given up the gaspers.

  18. Crio….I think Zabeel eulogises himself!

  19. Fly my I can guarantee you Mick Burlesque is still on the graspers. Saw him sitting in the stall and enjoying a puff.

  20. Some great racing out at Caulfield. From the betting ring, I’d report the crowd was good, the money was small, the Interstate was a loss, the locals a compensatory win. Extended offer of $18 Black Tomahawk was unwise, especially when real money still wanted the $12. Mourinho a good “split’ though it was a surprisingly lacklustre betting race. The Rupert Clarke got us back in the black. After the disgraceful rail prejudice last night at the Valley, looks like we might have to spend another season canning the track bias.

  21. Jock and Crio found Sabatini, and Higgo found Alart in Sydney, $15 betfair, nice work

  22. and Sam Clipperton delivered again on a bolter. No, I didn’t have a bet in Sydney!
    Oges would’ve followed Vlad the Impaler on Mourinho…ridiculous odds in retrospect.
    Put Lucky Hussler in the black book and watch for Lucky Lucky Lucky in a staying H’cp, perhaps even the Moonee Valley Cup.

  23. The Underwood was the best race i’ve seen this year. Some top horses fighting out a very tough race. I had money invested in Fawkner and the Cleaner, getting a few $$ back. How good is Mourinho ? A very under rated horse who can turn in some big rides. Well done Vlad Duric, Peter Gelagotis, for your victory in the best race i’ve seen in 2015.


  24. Mongolian Khan on track for a big win over the Carnival. Suggest Caulfield Cup might be the go.

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