Almanac Racing – Getting better!

It’s a teaser Saturday for those whose underperforming footy side is driving them to the racing section of the sports pages. Don’t get too excited just yet. As warned last year, start looking at the trials (where the top shelf are appearing) and monitor form – but keep rather than build your Spring bank.

My seasonal gripes have become predictable after so many years of these previews/overviews, so I’ll try to be brief with the recurrent ones for the upcoming weekend – 1) Sydney starts posting Group races before many appropriate horses have emerged; 2) Caulfield’s meeting “disrespects” the legacy of J.J.Liston but invariably throws up some winners for weeks ahead; and 3) I sook at not being at the Broome Cup.

There may, however, be cause to break my template criticising the invariably “skinny” San Domenico (SR5, 3yo, 1100m, SWP, G3) as this year’s edition is mouth-watering (though still small-ish). Unsurprisingly, Ladbrokes has posted the $40m unbeaten 2yo Champ, Vancouver, as outright pick but the big stables have all lined up with genuine challengers (discount only the bottom-weight and perhaps the 5). 3pm. Try to watch it. This early season 3yo reminds me a bit of what the old Ascot Vale used to be like before they stuffed around with Melbourne’s calendar.

Whilst on the topic of change (= abominations), the MRC once again should hang its head in shame that P B Lawrence is deemed worthy of effectively erasing Liston from racing’s history. Disgraceful.

The old Liston Stakes Day still has some kudos but the quality is a bit thin.

The “main” race (MR7, 1400m, WFA, G2) will make the news as The Cleaner returns for another prep – a brave horse, he was run in to the ground during the past year. This seems a less than vintage “time-honoured” unless Gai’s Excess Knowledge (7) has further progressed – but you back her hypes down here at your peril. Absolutely no bet.

The supporting Group (3) Races are gender based 3yo 1100m SWP dashes of real interest.

Ragazzo Del Corsa (3) has the form to be the popular elect in the boys’ division (Vain Stakes, R5) but whilst Blinkers on are a plus, I’m not so sure that J.Winks on is cause to attack a shortie. J D Sadler’s going OK so maybe Star Planet (8) might be race-hardened and value at around 12/1.

The girls contest the Quezette (MR6) and it looks like Petits Filou (5) is the real deal. She’ll be around Evens against pretty good fillies but she’s likely a “one-out” kick-off for your quaddy.

In summary, there are enough good reasons to watch races/replays and monitor trials but, to be honest, don’t fall in to horses that have GFs months away – in fact, it is often a wise choice to look for well-placed horses which, though good, may be targeting an early bonus rather than chasing the banner prizes…the model here is perhaps that Caulfield star, Regal Roller, after which the other black-typer (MR8, 1200m, H’cp, Listed) is named. He regularly found the front and pinched the prize while the get-backs were still getting warm.

So whilst this is a monitoring day in Australia’s main race centres, I’ll take the chance to highlight two other meetings this Saturday from opposite ends of the spectrum – one in Illinois, near Chicago, and the other at Innisfail, an old “Coodabeens” staple in FNQ.

Aside from the Kentucky Derby, the Arlington Million was probably the only USA horserace I’d heard of in the 80s. The first to compete for the magic $1m and raced left-handed on turf over 1 ¼ miles, it gained a profile and a status from its inception in 1981 when the great John Henry won the first of his two victories. Anyone been there? The Pizza Man (10/1) is the tip.

Less renowned but arguably more fun would be the “Innisfail Banana Day”, an hour or so by bus from Cairns. About 25 degrees and sunny. Think backpackers and beer! They race there a few times a year but this day celebrates the local industry and attracts a big regional following.

As always, there’s something for everyone in Racing. Necessity demands that I remain here in “beanie” Melbourne and, without a gig at the Heath, I’ll be monitoring tips and results from the VFL at the Western Oval.

Good luck!



  1. It’s a hard day again in the city where Interstate Trainers are to the fore.This plus a couple of Jumps races make a rather difficult day though Glaneus a visitor from the Mount could improve my winnings
    Russian Rocker now under the care of Will Clarken has improved and will be around the money
    However Jock can add to this with his selections
    Yendall has some good mounts at Murtoa closer to home so he may be the go.more study needed here
    Like all I live in hope.Now Cowshedend has his Bullies flying I hope the Crows can make the finals.

  2. Steve Hodder says

    Ah Regal Roller! There’s a name to bring back great memories’ more than once, when the the wattle had burst and they lined up at Caulfield; I was able to fatten up the “Christmas account”. Alack, that last turn at Moonee Valley and the post was just a furlong and a half too far. A game horse nevertheless.


  3. cowshedend says

    Crio,Smoking Joey favourite in a Liston….sound of Tobin Bronze turning in it’s grave!
    McEvoy’s bomb proof Pelicano heads 1st up over the mile in the 2nd. Must have been a pretty interesting trial last week in Adelaide, 10 starters with Eclair Choice beating Alpine Eagle 6 1/2 L and Pelicano a further 3 1/2 back 3rd (anyone see it?)
    Budge my “Group Horse” Chiavari went around in a restricted race at Sale yesterday 4/7… and got beaten.Not talking through my kick, didn;t back it… little bit off that Oakleigh plate i had mapped out… good judge eh?
    Anything early on the Europeans, Japs and Yanks for the features?

  4. My memories of the San Domencio were being for the out and out speedsters over 1000m – General Nediym, Star of Florida, Regimental Gal, Gold Edition. While Testa Rossa & Our Maizcay won and extended their brilliance over long journeys. Qld’ers had a good record!

    Has Vancouver lost a leg? I snapped up $2.8

    I compare Vancouver with Pierro, who won 1st up as a 3yo with 60kg over 1200m (vs 1100m san domenico), after the triple crown and was $1.80 into $1.55.

  5. CSE – ask and you shall receive. Here’s Éclair Choice / Alpine Eagle’s trial

  6. cowshedend says

    Now that IS service! thanks Budge, had a fair old cuddle on the winner too, very impressive

  7. Tough day again.
    Don’t think Petits Filou is any cert. Miss Gunpowder was very impressive in Adelaide and a few others like Thurlow have very good form, I don’t think Petits Filou has met anything with any quality yet so still has something to prove from my point of view.I think Stoker is a good hope in the preceding race for similar reasons as its meet good company where most of the rest haven’t. I would expect Petrology to be a big improver in the Regal Roller and I’m keen on Clemo in the last with a big class drop., I reckon Raposo is a hard horse to ride and not keen with J Childs up.
    The Stainvita meter is reading “very moist” at Morphettville, not too much rain but drizzling all week and no chance to dry out. There are a few interesting runners for the day: Hibbs has brought over Mayan Prophecy in race 6 and its got OK heavy track form and in the last Craig Stewart has brought Gav’s Gift up from Millicent for a first up run. Gav’s Gift doesn’t have any first up form but is pretty good on a wet track so it’s an interesting move and currently $34 so wont cost much to find out.

    Thought I’d have something on Centre Pivot in Sydney as its pretty good 2nd up and gets a couple of Kg’s off Countryman.The San Dom is a great race I reckon you could make a case for Haptic but assume the fav willl be too good.The other interesting runner in Syd is Wales in the 7th, fair drop in standard from WFA to an ordinary Hcp in Sydney and there was money for it first up so should be a hope.
    Hoping to start the weekend off with a win at the bay tonight, sadly Port have dropped a lot of pretty good players back, maybe there concentrating on a SANFL GF now they’re gone AFL wise.

  8. Cowshedend….link to Eclair Choice below…..ran 12L faster than next quickest trial, Alpine Eagle looking like he may need a run?

  9. Whoops sorry Budge….didnt see that you’d already posted it ;-)

  10. Like Oges in his earlier posting i’m going to check D Yendall @ Murtoa. Narrandera cup also on Saturday, i’m liking the Berrigan trained Rock and Royal. Down in weights, good first up form, i’l put a few $ on that. Corowa races again on Sunday, a meeting moved from Albury. I won’t be able to get there but it’s a decent card for a mid August meeting.

    Happy Punting,


  11. Jock, was it my reference to a “teaser” that brought the old Stainvita-meter to mind?
    I’m off on the sauce with Kym McInerney tonight so any footy updates from the Bay appreciated.
    Will be following your leads tomorrow so study up.

  12. Just a test to see if Elvis is out there somewhere

  13. Jock,

    Hello, can you hear me. What on earth has Stainvita got to do with me. I thought that was all about BQ. I do know a true story though about Stainvita. Apparently there was a Bank Manager back then who “borrowed $100,000 to have on the horse that fateful day at Sandown and ended up in jail for some time, having to relive the experience every time another inmate asked what he was in for. OK, it nearly does relate to me.

    I thought the incredibly lazily named Sardaaj would be half a special in the Regal Roller. 4 starts, 2 wins, she ran second in a Group 2 at her third start and second in a Group 1 at her fourth start in a race. That’s pretty impressive, anywhere. I’ve always been a fan of class first up. Reckon she is $6,50 because she drew 17.

    Crio, Thanks for mentioning the great John Henry. Now that’s a fairytale. Bigger than Sea Biscuit. I heard a good story about the bloke who bred him when I was in America. Can’t remember it though.

    I’ve got Alzheimers, but at least I haven’t got Alzheimers.

  14. Crio,

    You’re out with Kym McInerney. Will that be a table for four?

  15. Disregard my tip for Narrandera it’s scratched. I might consider the stable mate Defenceman, though his form this prep is nothing to write home about.

    In one of the early races at Murtoa the whisper is Miss Unirad. It has D Yendall on it.


  16. Have done a little wet track form for Adel and found a few I think are a shade of overs, Race 6 Power to Possess at 50s (although the last time D Tootell rode a winner I think Stairway To Heaven was topping the charts), Race 8 Get Pronto at 40s and in the last Gav’s Gift (already found by Jock so hoping I don’t put the kiss of death on it for him).

    Good luck all.

  17. Brave tipping Higgo…doesn’t cost much to find out.
    TheJudge has declared his San Domenico thoughts.
    Anyone else think the fav a risk?

  18. Peter Fuller says

    You’re entitled to be spruiking the tips here. Oges found Glaneuse, you got Petits Filou (your single unequivocal tip) and Higgo found one which ran third and paid $7.50 on the “giddy”. Oges also suggested following Yendall at Murtoa for two winners one at $12.
    Well done team!
    As a casual, I’ll be hoping for a heads up when Eclair Choice steps out, although I expect it will be well tried.

  19. Stay tuned Peter…and thanks.

  20. Vancouver struggled against fitter horses where they flew early……

    Highland Reel was impressive in America and will be a major force in the Cox Plate

  21. I think Eclair Choice will come up too short on Saturday after all the reports from the trial. Although he was very impressive and ran a quick time I think it will come up far too short. Given even luck (gates etc) I can’t imagine he could beat Gregers at level weights, even though I have enormous respect for the Stokes stable!

  22. Admire that you always post an opinion Higgo. I am looking fwd to the fields being released tmrw and will be Valley bound Saturday. Good weather and not bad fields forecast and with Bombers stuffed, might even get some people to the track.

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