Almanac Racing – final fling

Champion performances give credence to The Championships. Chautauqua and Winx delivered for the beleaguered ATC last Saturday, triggering terrific scenes where I was, the Mornington betting ring, and presumably across tracks and pubs throughout the country. Regardless of your betting bias, eyes were on the grey as he topped the rise in the T.J.Smith. A bridge too far? Momentarily he seemed to labour – and then he swooped. The crowd cheered and beamed. How was that? Easy! Chautauqua by a length. Next race and the air was thick with excitement and expectation. But Winx became mired in the sloppy inside going. Was that and the handicapper going to conspire to defeat the gallant champ? No way. She’s no fair weather dame. Bowman’s urgings were accompanied by a chorus of supporters as she dug in and “found a way”. It’s what the best do. Fantastic.

This is what the big days are meant to deliver. The big names. The big moments.

Alas, these vignettes might not be enough to rescue what’s shaping as another Autumn flop for the heralded Sydney Autumn and their “Royal” venue. The whole package has simply not delivered. The money is obscene and unnecessary. The richly renovated Randwick fails at its “core business” of being a fair, competitive (safe?) sports field. The attendant glamour and social profile seems also to have missed its mark. Public interest has shown that this ain’t racing’s panacea. 20,000 on a sunny afternoon with a huge publicity budget is unacceptable. Broad media coverage has not been achieved. A fail mark. RNSW is in trouble.

The upcoming banner day deserves close scrutiny. That track last week was utterly unacceptable. This week Sydney has had the warmest April day on record (Wednesday) and generally fine conditions. They’d better not stuff it up. Personally I’d not bet until after some races have revealed the true conditions.

Plenty of toadies will don blinkers and pump up the whole Carnival, as happens when there’s so much money to be made. There are plenty of beneficiaries lining up for the Gov’t and RNSW’s largesse. An upside of ZERO International participants is that theoretically the money stays local. Admittedly this generally means that the wealthy accrue (note: John Messara’s legacy) but, as per The Derby last week, some great stories do emerge that a willing media should be able to sell.

Punters are entitled to be fed up with the conditions that are regularly presented but a massive publicity push, especially via Corporate Bookmaker ads, is sure to generate a final fling before they en masse retreat to various winter footy fare.

Let’s take a tentative look at the main races on offer:-

SR5- 3yo Sprint (1200m, 3yo, SW, G2, $500k)

Most interest here is in the battle between Japonisme and Petits Filou. The former’s been consistent against the silk department. The latter flopped at the big Moir step.

SR6- Oaks (2400m, 3yoF, SW, G1, $1m)

Jameka is the logical fav. Backing up from The Derby and probably short, I’ll be looking elsewhere despite her undeniable credentials. Kiwis?

SR7- Cup (3200m, H’cp, G1, $2m)

Pretty good Cup, rejuvenated by the huge prizemoney injection (still not worth it!). Waller has the three on top of the market. A few chances here. Going with 4,1,8. Gallante the danger.

SR8- Stakes (1600m, F+M, WFA, G1, $1m)

The old Queen Of The Turf. Good race. No idea.

SR9- QE Stakes (2000m, WFA, G1, $4m)

Usual suspects. Can’t back The United States at the quote. Is there a form WFA prospect? Probably not. Might look to Lucia Valentina on a groggy track. Nibble on It’s Somewhat. Very tough.

Best get-out probably Griante in the last.


Put the “big picture” criticisms aside for the afternoon and embrace the last bumper meeting from Sydney this season. For all of the valid head-shaking at the excesses and blunders, this remains a really good card. Be wary about committing until conditions are confirmed, but watch, enjoy and (if so inclined) bet.

Whilst they’re chasing the mega-millions up there, I’ll see cheery owners celebrating Trophy wins at Woolamai. And for punters, a win’s a win’s a win.

Good luck!



  1. Happy to be with a couple that owe me nothing.
    Suavito is great value at double figure odds back to mares grade and equal weights with Azkadellia.
    Awesome Rock will be silly odds again in the big race. He’s been great the last couple of starts.
    Otherwise you must stick with Bowman, JMac and Tommy Berry.

  2. Now Crio a Q from left field.

    I had always understood a meeting to have TAB status it needs at least six races. Picnics i hasten to add are in a league of their own. I’ve been to quite a few Non-TABS with five or six races .

    The meeting at Holbrook on Saturday has seven races but it’s non -TAB. THe quality/depth of the fields are on a par with a meeting in Albury, Corowa, or Wagga, to mention a few adjacent tracks. How does this seven race card not have TAB status?.


  3. theJudge says

    My stabs in the dark at Randwick

    Oaks – Going with the NZ fillies. If you can come from 2nd half of field and wide, then have Capella on top.
    Cup – Has been a graveyard for favs the last couple of years, so will go around Libran in quaddie
    QE – Keep coming back to Lucia Valentina
    Sapphire – Sultry Feeling / Brook Road

    A couple in Adel
    R2 Miss Gunpowder
    R3 Chateau Cheval

  4. Crio,

    Haven’t really had a good look yet, but the good Kiwis 3yo’s over ground are always hard to beat, so I reckon I will be going that way in the Oaks and mix up the three of them.

    Will also have something e/w Noble Protector in the Group 1 What is it/what was it mares race.

    This amused me. The last time Cana ran (Sandown R4), Matthew Campbell, who does a betting fluc thing for Centrebet prior to the race said he noted that “Cana was By Handaman out of Grandaspanner” Thought that was pretty clever.

  5. Elvis, That’s “Cambo’s” schtick. Can be funny but tends to prefer wackiness to info. Wears thin.
    As mentioned, the G1 for girls was the Queen of the Turf. Is Noble Protector code for some sort of drug drop? – somehow it is declared every time!

  6. and what about the track up there? Beautiful drying conditions. An improving 6 posted this morning – yet every pundit insists you do wet track form. More like crap/shifty track…do not bet until revealed.

  7. Great summary crio….what a week it has been…haven’t looked at the final sectionals of those two breathtaking horses….simply have to take my hat off to them….particularly the sprinter, he could well be the best we have seen….assuming he rattles off those finishes again.

    I’m in Syd at the moment and can vouch there was reasonable rain for 20 mins or so which should keep the track slow, there was talk it could get up to dead but I doubt that now.

    Tips..a bit early without knowing track rating but here we go….

    Race 2 …Santa Ana Lane and Puritan look value.

    Race 5…On weights one may think I’m mad but happy to take on Japonisme at the 5/4…Petits Filous and Counterattack also looks value at the $13.

    Race 6…If Jameka can find a spot for a soft run from the gate then she probably wins, but very short. She also has to back up. Not prepared to back her at the odds she is to find that soft run, so going to going wide with the kiwis again (after stabbing the Derby winner at $49 last week on a similar form basis), but track rating VITAL here.

    Race 7….outside the obvious Auvray could be the roughie

    Race 9…again outside the obvious chances 3,6,8,12 and 13 all chances for the multi’s at big odds. The ones in the market no good things. Good race for multi’s.

    A lot depends on the track rating and we won’t know for sure until tomorrow.

    Good luck to all.

  8. You’ll be there Higgo?
    Really keen for your summary of the whole “event”.
    Hope you have a great day.

  9. Won’t be at the track crio but have friends that will be there…happy to give updates if required. We are going for lunch at a pub and punt from there. It has a good TAB and great meals apparently. I’m being led by some very dangerous red wine drinkers.
    Can easily arrange updates from my phone if required. Although I may be on the canvas by late afternoon!

  10. Sounds like a good plan Higgo!

  11. Ritchie and Eddie says

    Hot tip, Sad Ken in the third at Chepster

  12. Big day ahead and starting to ramp up in Adelaide also.
    In Melb I like Enquare EW in the 3rd, 3 deep outside the lead first up and should improve, French Emotion looks pretty good so may hit trifectas with those 2.
    In Sydney I like Counterattack in the 5th- I was a bit keen in the Newmarket before it was scratched so I better follow up. Sofia Rosa in the Oaks. I like Auvray in the cup because I think the 2 miles will suit better and looking for value.Queen of the Turf-Zanbagh did me a favour at Easter and the soft track looks good for it, Badawiya was also a great run and still a chance despite wide draw. I still trying on Rising Romance in the QE.
    Adelaide is a pretty good meeting, Tenere will go well first up in the 4th, Karacatis is the best handicapped for the day in race 6 but has drawn out which may be an issue- I expect plenty of money for Nostradamus and not keen on the early fav Sooboog.Thames Court is a spec in the 7th and will be a one out the the quaddie

  13. With canny staking you should’ve won Jock.
    Any joy Higgo? Seems the red wine bill was the biggest danger!
    No bet for me today. Reckon I would have won but bet nowt and lose nowt. Long day at Woolamai.

  14. Yes crio, somehow my account had far more in it this morning than it did yesterday. Ended up a big day, both with alcohol and the punt!
    Tipping I would’ve broken most basic rules of punting however the punting Gods were looking after me.

  15. Ultimately I guess it is the old golf adage – now how but how many

  16. Crio, I was canny yesterday, also found Miss Rock at 20’s on Betfair and have turned the profit into power tools which made my Sunday at lot easier than it otherwise would have been, now enjoying a McLaren Vale shiraz before an early night so I can catch some of the Masters before work.

  17. Spieth!



    Great golfer and will no doubt fight back after this defeat, but what a shattering day for him.

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