Almanac Racing – Here, There and Everywhere

“If a tree fall in the woods…”

The television blackout of Victorian racing has been a disgrace. The VRC, as usual, have tried to bully the rest of the Industry. The TAB, unsurprisingly, has been a huge loser. Pubs say turnover has diminished – yet the dishlickers and, especially, the “corporates” have cashed in. What a shemozzle.

The now apparently ostracised TAB has been a key element in the prizemoney explosion fuelling modern racing so I hope the “revenue sources” have been checked – the announcement today from RVL is that a resolution has been reached and free-to-air is imminent.

Clem Dimsey, it is believed, is still microphone in hand down at Werribee awaiting the “all clear”!

Channel 78 will, we’re told, show all Victorian races “free to air” from tmrw.

(the link here, tenuous as usual, is that Clem called the first live telecast of the Melbourne Cup back on Channel 0 in ’78!)

Part of a notification from RV CEO reads, “Channel 78 will re-transmit the existing coverage of our races daily from Friday as an interim measure whilst Seven West Media tests the distribution network and commences preparations for the launch of its premium coverage on the channel in late August.” So it is a stopgap until a grand takeoff, most likely on Memsie Stakes Day.

Racing didn’t need this unsightly squabble but (and it is a capital BUT), if the outcome is responsible, it will have been worthwhile. One suspects, however, a few battles still to be fought – Federation took a long while and solved very little…RacingNSW and RVL will be in their trenches. Meanwhile, Racing Queensland, overlord to the most meetings nationally, have made some extraordinary and questionable partnership and admin decisions lately and TRSA are supervising a successful and sizeable local Industry’s slide to oblivion.


Disgusted, as is my wont as winter envelopes Melbourne, I look north for some inspiration.

My boss at the Valley last week has hopped in his car and set his stand for Fannie Bay, working all of the Darwin meeting from this Saturday until the Cup on the 1st Monday of August. Naturally, then, I snuck a look at their fields. Owners and trainers love getting horses up there for the features but it seems the trend has begun early this year. Not only are there 8 races programmed, but consider these:

R7 No2 – 3 starts ago PostD’France won at Flemington on Newmarket Day.

R8 No1 – Tony McEvoy’s taking last start city winner, Underestimation, up North.

These are terrific endorsements for the NT programming – last week staff on course at an 8degree MV began the countdown to their “escape” and, doubtless, on August 3 I’ll be cussing at not having joined the migration.


For grey nomads heading clockwise and synching the Darwin Cup, Port Hedland races might be the option this Saturday. Why not? Beautiful weather and a truly unique course. Try to watch a race on TV (they get SKY, unlike Pakenham today!). If you can ignore the vista or the seemingly endless freight train rollin’ past the background, prepare for the home straight…I reckon I mentioned this last year – I’m sure, as they straighten, the dirt track, like a transformed caterpillar, suddenly transmogrifies to turf. How the bloody hell they do a peno, I’ll never know! Amazing.

The fields, I guess, are pretty unremarkable, but, as usual in racing, there’s stuff of interest. Not knowing any of the horses, I look to the hoops. And there’s a famous name. Heagney.

Graham Heagney trained Tobin Bronze.

Peter Heagney is the greatest horse auctioneer in the country.

Mick Heagney is the ultimate journeyman. Lucky Starr should have mentioned him. He rode Super Impose for that legend’s first black type win (Eclipse). He’s done the rounds, from Ballarat to Brisbane, Wagga to WA. Have saddle, will travel. It’s a hard grind but he keeps searching for winners and, with all that experience and a full book, presumably makes a living from his Pilbara sojourns.

Another name to draw the eye was apprentice Randy Tan – check out the names of his rides in the first three! “There’s no comment. And there’s absolutely no comment.”

As usual I’ve been distracted.

Time to watch the footy and look at the Melbourne fields. Comments will need to wait. I’m at Flemington on the Wayne Elliott stand Saturday and, naturally, an internet moment from any decent mail between now and then.

Good luck!





  1. Crio- with the end of the Season upon us I am sure that all contributors to Crios Racing will thank you for your Herculean efforts week in week out to give us food for thought and encourage lively banter. Our dedicated band provide plenty of mail,humour and around Cup time lively discussion (all kept in check by Budge).Well done Crio and fellow racing “fans”
    I can’t say it’s been a good year on the punt for me but regular scribes will no doubt have picked some good winners.
    I will be following the locals this week with no real conviction and with winter setting in it will be a challenge
    Jock the Parks track isn’t my favourite in Adelaide and it seems a lot of horses feel the same

  2. Peter Fuller says

    Your vote of appreciation to Crio is seconded by one of (probably quite a few) lurkers.

  3. Thanks fellas, but we’re not accountants – the racing year has a bit to go.
    I was sidetracked last night so will try to precis my intended piece…

    Flemington hosts it’s usual excellent range of winter “Series Heats” on Saturday, supplemented by the $100k Provincial Plate. But I’ll be betting in MR5. Primarily, of course, because I reckon I’ve found the winner at double figure odds on Ladbrokes, but also because it has been named in tribute to the great Takeover Targer, which died this week. How can you not warm to the old champ? His fairytale rise from Queanbeyan to the Queen is wonderful but can sometimes detract from the fact that he’s up there with the greats of Australian sprinting. No hiding him either. Joe Janiak took him everywhere (minus the “look at us sharing with the little people” puke of the Caviar ownership clan). Joe was/is “common folk”. I met him in a pub in Darwin. Flynny met him at Ascot. Same bloke. Same reviews. As genuine as his horse. Takeover Target’s is one of the best stories in our game. A wonderful horse.
    The bet I’m intending is on Sandhill Flash (12) so will ask for some SA info. It’s a good race but this gelding flies fresh. D.Dunn’s in form and pursuing the premiership. If he salutes, I hope he’ll acknowledge the regular jockey, Amy Herrmann, who is now out of an induced coma after a trial fall. She’s a brave girl who has a dual licence and is very capable on the flat and over the sticks. For now though, her welfare is the main concern. So, for these and other more selfish, financial reasons, I’m nominating MR5 No9.

  4. I realize the season doesn’t end until the end of July but I wanted to get in early before we head north soon for a month so communication may be patchy

  5. Handy little resource Racenet now provides:
    Past track conditions, rail placements and analysts assessment of any pattern

    Best going out wide, especially for straight races might to the go.

  6. *be the go

  7. I’m planning to keep the powder dry for Flemington until any pattern evolves, hoping back markers are OK as I would be keen to back something to beat Kenjorwood and think that Mr utopia and Sir Andrew is a deadset quinella in the last.
    A bit more confidence in Adelaide. Race 4 Hadda Coupple has a big class drop from Flemington last start and will be very hard to beat I will butter up again on Cool Hero in the 6th. The 8th is the race of the day and Tildy Lad is a very good horse who will be good odds because he raced very ungenerously last time out, if the manners are improved it will give a good sight but the race is very open. Note for Dodgy: blinker changes, ear muffs and tongue ties so looks like they decided to give everything a go. Get out on Most Husbands in the last.

    Hoping the Blues can back up from last weeks great win…love beating Port

  8. Verdict on Sandhill Flash pls Jock

  9. Crio,
    Good hope. Seems the straight races are a slow early tempo and they rev up for the last 600 so on pace horses seem to get the choccys most times. If it was 1200 at Morphetville I’d back Double Pockets to beat it but not here. Hard Romp is the one to beat. Those 2 and maybe General Truce for the trifecta.

  10. Thx. General Truce is such a good straight tracker.
    Less confident re Bays v despised

  11. cowshedend says

    Love it Crio!
    Clem Dimsey still trying to get down from the scaffold at Port Melbourne where he and Phil Gibbs used to call the VFA.
    Searching everywhere for standouts and coming up with donuts.
    Distance race at Flemington with the usual suspects, God awful straight races, Waller with 17 runners in Sydney ( and 6 in Melbourne).
    Wish I was heading up to Fannie Bay too!

  12. Will be having something on Moody ‘s import, Diaghan, in R3 at Headquarters. Form suggests a group horse in France running around in a BM78. Up to a mile after a sighter over 1200m. Big odds but wouldn’t need to be a superstar to be in the finish here.

  13. Clem Dimsey, what a blast from the past ! Was Clem calling the Geelong West V Port Melbourne game in 1979, a game Port lost by 3 points, with the end of the match resulting in a group of Burra supporters trying their best to tip over the Channel 0 van, commentators still inside. I can’t remember if Clem was there that day.

    It was the last game of Footy for former Footscray and Richmond star David Thorpe, he did his knee playing for the Burras.

    Mick Heagney covers a mile or to picking up rides. Albury, Berrigan, Corowa, now i see him riding in Broome ! Good on him.


  14. cowshedend says

    Was Thorpy lairing at the time Glen?
    Oges did ya load up on Yendall on Majestic Duke?

  15. No I didn’t I stuck with the locals much to my regret when I saw the result but a glass of red may deaden the pain….

  16. Both those horses got beaten at Darwin – you have to be able to handle the oiled track.
    Haven’t had the chance to check Randy Tan’s adventures in Pt Hedland!

  17. cowshedend says

    Randy rides today Crio, should have Frankie Howard or Benny Hill doing the form at Port Hedland, most of his rides come from a trainer called Ball

  18. G’day Cowshed end, I wasn’t there that day, I was playing U-17’s ; still. I remember watching the news that night re the hullaballoo at Geelong West. In the following years I made a number of trips to Geelong West on the Port Melbourne supporters bus, but the crowd behaviour ( umpiring) never repeated the performance of 1979.


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