Almanac Racing: Here comes the Spring

There are plenty of good horses strutting their stuff this Saturday, though not a lot of great races.


Exhibit A. – MR7 (1600m, WFA) In Melbourne it is the old Feehan Stakes meeting at the Valley. These days it is renamed for Dato which, for once, seems timely following the death of the great J.B.Cummings.  Fans will enjoy seeing The Cleaner jump and run and, in all likelihood, discuss Contributer’s handling of the tricky circuit in this Cox Plate pre-emptive strike. Foreteller, Big Memory and the like will come under the “watch” and Mourinho will remain the “other” main chance. Interesting, but hardly a vintage G2.

Exhibit B. – MR8 (1000m, WFA) Ian McEwen was a ground breaking administrator who deserves a G2 Sprint as a memorial. This year’s edition is a big field but, truly, it looks like 1 from 2 from whatever…as with the previous race, the fav’s having a maiden Moonee Valley hitout with bigger glory ahead and the trip might be a bit short, but he’s the class. Goodwood winner Flamberge is easily the highest rated of the rest.

These favourites will be short – justifiably given their quality and scope, but neither’s won here. Stay out.

Sydney’s meeting has more depth, though it is true that a lot of these will be stepping out to gain fitness before stepping up to their better distances.

The Tramway Stakes (SR7, 1400m, SWP, G2) appears to be the day’s pick. Whilst stars such as Protectionist (1) and Lucia Valentina (3) will come under ante-post punters’ scrutiny, the returns of First Seal (9) and Sweynesse (8) are of more immediate interest – for this and their Epsom H’cp/ Cox Plate targets. 8 E/W at the odds.

Another highlight on a Randwick card with four Group races is the Chelmsford (SR6, 1600m, WFA, G2). Hartnell and Who Shot Thebarman are among the resuming stayers, Pornichet and Kermadec continue to chase the current riches and Royal Descent will seek to consolidate last week’s form. Capacity field. Interesting race. I’ve sacked It’s Somewhat which might be a good lead for those familiar with my current form.

Earlier a promising batch of 3yo fillies step out in the Furious Stakes (SR4, 1200m, SW, G2) and the sprinters, including promising Shiraz, tackle the Concorde Stakes (SR5, 1000m, SWP, G3).


As usual, there’s plenty going on in racing, some good and some not so.

I’ll just stick to the horses – that was, after all, Bart’s way.

For those who haven’t yet wandered around the site, don’t miss Peter B’s fabulous tribute to the Master, nor Flynny’s reflections on being “Barted” – both wonderful pieces. And thanks, as always, to those who keep reminding us that, despite all of the naysayers, this is a great sport to follow – especially if you can find a winner.

Focus…and Good Luck!

Peter Baulderstone’s fine tribute to Bart.

Peter Flynn on being Barted.

Nominate your favourite Bart horse, Bart moment, Bart story.


  1. Crio, Waller any chance in the Chelmsford? 11 of 16 runners in a Group 2… Sydney racing…please!!!

  2. I’m expecting a weekend of “slashing Cup trials”. Remember getting to the races for these meetings and making a bee-line for the Cups doubles bookies?

  3. Yeh I remember… still get the charts sent out by Brian Taylor at Doublebet, tradition, donate to the Salvos on the way in and donate to the Doubles bookmakers on the way out.

  4. I see that Zacada finished midfield in a modest midweek benchmark at Sandown yesterday. Anyone see the run?

  5. Yep , I saw it. Very green raced with its head on its side when asked to let down.

  6. Do we keep following Zacada?

  7. Haven’t done that much homework yet however I think I’ve found a lay at the price….Chautauqua looks ridiculously short….this is 1000m at the Valley, not 1200m at Flem. No value at all and there are several others that go very well fresh and love the Valley also. It Is Written looks great value at the $21!

  8. Higgo, I reckon we’ve flagged a few dodgy shorties in recent weeks. Must say that alarm bells went off when Rich Enuff was 9/4 rather than 5/4 – money talks. Alaskan Rose and Charmed Harmony, however, were solid bets for those who can back favs. Glad I got the $6.80 Abidewithme early doors in the first. Saved my day.
    If Chautauqua gets to $3 do you nod knowingly or attack overs?
    I’m amazed at Sweynesse being $12 and unloved in the Tramway.

  9. Crio, well said. I think $3 is probably closer to his right price, at that quote I probably wouldn’t lay him but rather bet around him. Since my last post someone pointed out to me that the stable is also out of form, I wasn’t aware of that, but I’d rather be with an in form stable than an out of form one. There is generally a good reason a stable is in form! ;-)

  10. Happy to lay both Chautauqua and Contributor. Both are easily the best horses in their races and have exceptional fresh form. The risk is both are first time around the Valley and have much bigger fish to fry. No reason to flatten them for these. It’s a look and see how they handle the track which will then have a bearing on their future programs. Much prefer the each wat Mourinho and Flamberge (or It Is Written) in those races.

  11. Crio, the short answer to Sweynese is I’m with you, goes super fresh. This is assuming the pace is true which, given the gates, should be the case with a couple drawn wide that will go forward. I think Hooked is good value at $21, as is Gypsy Diamond at $35 and a mad knockout chance to Famous Seamus (gate no help so would only save on him), generally happy to go wide in this race.

  12. Watched the ZACADA race with interest. Jumped well and was 3 wide early before Zahra decided to take a sit. The leaders then put the anchors on and on the turn he was traveling ok behind a wall of horses. Hard ridden, he seemed to lose his stride and looked like he almost fell at one point. I’ve got no doubt that he’s top quality but might be more of a Derby horse than Guineas. Don’t drop off yet!

  13. Watched a race on the 7 coverage last week – hopefully I am on course hereafter.
    Something won the race which shouldn’t be on a Saturday card and Bruce gushed to Sam Hyland..” Kerrin has ridden some great horses and I can’t wait to hear how this measures up”. McEvoy should’ve responded that it was a good BM64.
    Cringeworthy TV. Thankfully I won’t have to suffer it again. Listened to the rest on radio and watched replays later. Luckily I didn’t get to see Campbell Brown.

  14. Strangely, as a non favourite punter, I’d be keen to back Chautauqua if it gets to good odds. The rail is true which will assist run on horses and plenty of speed and the wide draw will help because it won’t get boxed in. Also not that keen on Contributor and would be happy to have something on Dibayani after it’s good first up run, I think it will improve a lot, should be a bit of speed in this with Kenjorwood and The Cleaner.

  15. Thanks Budge re Zacada – I will stick with the horse next start

  16. A lot of horses who have been good to my sky rocket are at the Valley. To name a few, Leveraction, Grand Sai Wun, The Cleaner and Sweet Emily, all have delivered the $$ to me. But apart from the Cleaner,and possibly Leveraction, who might get a placing, i’m not over flowing with confidence.

    Oges, any tips for Adelaide ? I notice Ken Sweeney trained two winners last Saturday, including Riziz who backed up for consecutive wins, A quick perusal of the Winning Post has not seen any good thing leap,out at me, so any updates would be appreciated.

    I notice Berrigan is on this Saturday, after last week was rained out. Hope they get a good day.


  17. Glen it’s a better meeting in the city and I’m sure Jock and his mates will add to my thoughts
    I can’t get too excited about the locals and in R3McDonald and Gluyas have nearly half the field engaged
    I would look to the interstate horses coming over-they seem on paper to have the wood on the locals
    They have the favourites in R 4 5 7
    Birdsville race today and tomorrow-two days on the “turps” and punting would probably finish me off however

  18. Fair enuff Oges. As well as my own bets, the Chesse & Kisses, and i are betting for the Punters club, but i’m scratching my head about the Valley . SA is my best state for returns, so i’m always interetsted in what’s running.

    Birdsvlle, hey . That’s off the beaten track. It’s crossed the mind before, and we’ve discussed it, but not got there. Ardlethan is the most exotic location we’ve attended but there are plans afoot for the Broken Hilll Cup in 2016. Watch this space.

    Happy Punting,


  19. Randwick is jinxed…Heavy9 now

  20. Budge,

    Watched the Zacada race. Wait for the “Blinkers on first time” gear change. Reported to be defining for Zabeels.

  21. No time to do anything this arvo…what’s the public service coming to?

    I have found a few more “likes” at the Valley, Abbasso in the 4th from a soft draw, maybe something on Fast n Rocking if it runs-it and Griante have a lot of class on the rest and I need to see Fell Swoop race against something that I know has some ability. I’ll also keep a watch on Wexford Town in the last, blinkers and Damien Lane and 30/1 against a field of mostly also rans.
    I’m not overly enthused in Adelaide but there are a few that look some value. Race 2 Beau Rivage is not the worst, Stokes has the fav that is first start and drawn out so a potential result race. Moody has brought over Diaghan in the 4th and if it’s any good will have an easy kill. The other interesting runner is Prince Lukas in the 7th, outside of the top weight it’s like a class 1 so maybe a hope sitting behind the leader.

  22. Thanks Jock. I might give Fast’n’Rocking a last chance. Fresh and if they are swooping

  23. Keen on two at Randwick – R3 metallic crown R8 start wondering

    Contributer black odds on Betfair and will take $2.30+.

    Tramway is a cracking race with some very good wet trackers engaged – lucia valentina, rudy, arabian gold

  24. Judge, do you reckon they’ll track wide again at Randwick? Might be like the footballers if really heavy – managing for later finals

  25. Beware leaders track at Randwick and the latest now is that it could be a swoopers at the Valley.

    That being the case, obviously brings Chautauqua into it but also makes Hooking a great price at $21.

    Good luck to all.

    p.s. If there is a football God, Richmond will smash North next week and the AFL will change the rules next year so a team cannot manipulate the finals as North have this year.

  26. Won’t matter Higgo. Like every other year the bottom four just making up the numbers.

  27. Budge, you may well be proven to be correct, however I’m not so sure this year!

  28. Whoops…one too many wines last night…..I meant Hooked, not Hooking. Maybe I was thinking about a career move!

  29. It’s a Friday night thing Higgo – that’s where we have our best banter and bloopers!
    Randwick’s mysteriously posting as a 7 this morning – trainers seem less convinced – heaps of scratchings with the Tramway seriously impacted and the last threadbare.

  30. Just a shy at the stumps here, but I did like the trial of American Star the other day in Adel, and that trial form has well and truly been franked…currently $16 fixed. Seems good value.

    Crio, yes I think I’d need to see a couple of races in Syd before joining in, also Melb with a few good judges suggesting it could be a swoopers track.

  31. Not a good start at the Valley with Leveraction and Grand Sai Wun both unplaced. Let’ s see if the Cleaner can come in. There were far too many horses I like at the Valley today, meaning I needed to be selective, though my selections haven’t done anything.

    Pinch River at Doomben, and Lord Espirit at Morphetville carry my hopes,, alongside the Cleaner. Touch wood !


  32. Higgo, hope Hooked got you flying.

  33. Indeed Crio…..Found a nicely priced winner in Adel early in the day then after the Syd track was clearly leaderish, I found Hooked again as he was clear leader.

    Nice to be in the queue for a change. Needed a GPS to find it!

  34. Well after a poor start the results came in for me, making me a few $ better off. However why didn’t I quinella two of my faves, The Cleaner and Bagman ? Oh well, as they say, it’s a mugs game.


  35. just before we focus on the terrific racing coming up this weekend, some notes from last Saturday.
    SYDNEY- haven’t really looked at replays but it seems the track favoured on pace. Shiraz, a truly magnificent specimen, was really impressive running down Ball Of Muscle and will continue to get better. Waller seemingly trained most of the runners but emerged with just 2 winners. Forgive Hartnell. His boom trial was a punters’ trap as he was way too fresh. The winner was remarkable odds – remember I spruiked Sam Clipperton as the hoop to follow! (Alas no bet!).
    Like Hartnell, the other big Cox Plate boom was Contributer, beaten fav at the Valley. Not only had he never raced there before but no horse had ever won this race first-up. Massive forgive. The cleaner was wonderful. Chautauqua was authoritative in the sprint. Stay With Me was similarly “black booked” with her win which sees her set for the Thopusand Guineas. Fell Swoop won well but some of the beaten brigade belong on the “sack” file. I expected The United States to be 2/1 and win. It drifted alarmingly, SP was $5 but should have won…an uneasy victim of C.Williams 16/1 stablemate.

  36. Onwards and upwards CB. Some of your contributors (Pun not good but intended) came good with their tips on this site. Keep it up boys ( has there ever been a comment here from a female?)

  37. unfortunately there was once a disparaging anti-gambling snipe which showed no understanding of the joy most of us get from racing…but, it hasn’t been a successful “target demographic”!
    My bet on Saturday was Sweynesse, but it was doomed early. I backed it Thursday and then came the scratchings and the patchy track. Smaller field equalled no pace and thus he had to race on speed from where he could not accelerate – basically the hoop was damned if he did and damned hopeless if he didn’t. again – don’t bet early! Of the aforementioned scratchings, First Seal is becoming a serious worry.

  38. First Seal is out for the Spring. Bookies will need to find another way to pay school fees.

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