Almanac Racing: It’s now or never

This is it. The time is now. The forecast for Saturday is perfect and the fields are as good as we’ll get. No time for procrastinating. If you’re in to racing, Derby Day must be the focus.

I’m still readjusting to the calendar tinkering but it seems to have been pretty well accepted and has delivered a cracking card for Flemington. Queries might be the dual G1 Miles and the continued deterioration of the Hotham, but overall the horses might finally manage to take the spotlight from the off-course debacle that’s RVL.

Races 5, 6 and 8 are the standouts to me.

MR5- (Stakes, 1200m, 3yo, SW, G1)

Wowee. An outstanding batch of colts. Any of the top six could win without surprising. Interestingly, Saracino (7) is the only one with winning form down the straight – he’s on a muddled campaign and about 40/1 but don’t discount the importance of the course experience. Forced to select, I’ll go 5,2,1,7

MR6- (Classic, 1600m, F+M, WFA, G1)

Always a Carnival highlight. A real “destination” race. These don’t seem a “vintage crop” but, as usual, there’s plenty of quality and depth.  Dixie Blossoms (10) for me.

MR8- (Cantala Stakes, 1600m, Quality, G1)

Always tough. Sticking with the form Vic stables here, with Weiry’s Palentino and Voodoo Lad to beat Hayes’ colt Seaburge.

It’s a big week ahead. Enjoy it.

Good luck!


  1. Don’t forget Crio it’s Berrigan Cup on Saturday. I’ve been to a few previously but not in 2016 as i’m a wage slave on Saturday.

    Any town that has produced horses like Allez Bijou, Better Loosen Up, and Campaign King, has something going for it. Country racing, (NSW), it’s a great day out.


  2. If I am cast I reckon Stratum Star will be way overs in the mile

  3. big day comming up.
    I’m with Crio on Dixie Blossoms and will be coupling it with Heavens Above in trifectas.
    I will need to get some money early and will try hyyouask in the 2nd to get a cheap bank for the day.
    Race 5 Astern: the clock doesn’t lie and he can run faster sectionals than any others and will win
    Derby: the MV Vase form is better than other form so Sacred Elixer should win from So Si Bon and Silvera will improve a lot on his last run
    Race 8 Stratum Star looks great odds but missed the run last week so I’ll tread lightly
    Coming home on Illustrious Lad.

  4. Crio, Snap Stratum Star.
    Got the quaddie cheaply tonight so the bank is in place

  5. I’m finding the quaddie difficult.

  6. Scott McIntyre says

    Race 1 – HEY DOC has the impeccable form but is poorly drawn. MORTON’S FORK is a real “they” horse – one of those animals whose last run was unlucky but meritorious, and which every analyst, spruiker and coat-tugger (collectively known as “they”) will be trying to steer you into. May well win, but will be over-bet. Happy to settle on the O’Shea/JMac runner in BEZEL, which arrives fresh on the scene from Sydney with a win at the mile, lugging 61, under its belt.

    Race 2 – I’ve always got a bias toward horses proven at the distance in these staying races for young conveyances, so happy to go with PRETTY PUNK, who arrives here with a listed win at 1800 and a Derby Trial 3rd in her kitty. Leon McDonald has a habit of lobbing in Melbourne at springtime with a good 3yo stayer in the float.

    Race 3 – Facts and figures tell me WILD RAIN, but an indifferent effort in the Caulfield Sprint puts me off, and I can never catch Mark Kavanagh. I’m always on the look out for the unheralded, long-priced Clarry Conners runner at this time of year, and the lightly raced AEGEAN SEA, a Golden Slipper hope until she was injured as a young horse, fills the bill. Stepped straight from a Warwick Farm BM72 to a Listed affair last start, firmed from $26 to $11 and almost got the chocolates. Clarry doesn’t come to the carnival to roger spiders, so the 40/1 will do me in an open affair.

    Race 4 – With the honourable exception of REAL LOVE, here we have a collection of greybeards, head cases and dour, limited grinders. If OCEANOGRAPHER can’t roll these, I don’t know what he is doing here.

    Race 5 – What a lovely collection of horseflesh. I can only conject as to which of the turn-of-foot merchants will quicken up best under the conditions of today’s race, which is why I’m happy to speculate on RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, who should get the lead without much fuss, and who has something of a turn of foot in his own right. Hopefully, Newitt, McDonald, Dunn and Bowman become so pre-occupied with watching each other than that the red-hot K. McEvoy can give them the slip.

    Race 6 – Have heard half a dozen different spruiks for different mares in this, several of which are animals that have sketchy or non-existent records at the mile, and a couple of which are drawn on the banks of the Maribyrnong. No thanks. At the conditions, all of these spruik mares are also very close to FIRST SEAL in the weights. She’s the testing material, with plenty of group one form in her locker. I will also have something on I AM A STAR, who is a ripper 3yo filly. She ran a bottler in the Thousand Guineas and then last start was stiff not to win the Fillies Classic at the Valley, when she was forced to use the quicksandy inside section of the track. The only concern is that she has been up for a while, but if her legs are still fresh enough, I expect her to run big. Interestingly, she has beaten home WHISPERING BROOK in their last 2 meetings, but will go around at 3 times that filly’s quote today.

    Race 7 – SACRED ELIXIR is another “they” horse. Everyone saw him get up off the canvas like Rocky Balboa at the Valley last week, and three-quarters of the pundits in town have declared him on that basis. I was lucky enough to back him first up, so he owes me nil, and I am happy to let him go around without mine at a too-skinny quote today. I will back SWEAR, who comes out of a completely separate form line and whose form card, to my eye, looks impeccable. Ming Dynasty into Gloaming into Spring Champion. Yankee Rose franked the. Spring Champion form in the Cox Plate. Happy to take 13/2 about him as opposed to 2/1 or worse about the favourite.

    Race 8 – Always looking for some value down in their weights in these miles. Happy to settle on the Waller pair of MACKINTOSH and MCCREERY, both of whom come off good efforts in the Epsom. THUNDER FANTASY adds some intrigue – he has an interesting back story to say the least, and he did win nicely ar Randwick last start under a huge impost. I can never catch A. Cummings myself, but if you’re having a quaddie, think twice before leaving him out.

    Race 9 – I found this the least interesting race on the card. The charisma count is pretty low for these 11 runners, in my book. I do like Les Bridge, and I do love a horse with a strike rate, so maybe SOUTHERN LEGEND, but I would want 3/1 or better.

    Now that I have written all this down, I will probably have a skinner.

    Happy Derby Day, one and all.

  7. Very happy to be with De Little Engine in R4. Terrific run in the Turnbull here and ran on well in the Caulfield Cup from way back. Looks well suited here and good odds around the $8 each way.

    Reckon Pearls is way over the odds in Myer Classic. JMac on board – I can’t understand why its $40 and not $12. Very tough race but will try this at the value price.

    Good luck!

  8. I’m with Jock, can’t see Astern getting beaten and not sure why it’s not fav. Speaking of favorites, Derby fav too short, thought Swear would be htb with Tumultous and Hollywood Mo as the knockouts at odds. Junoob looks value at $16. With Jock again with Dixie Blossoms and Heavens Above. McIntosh looks value as well in the penultimate. Southern Legend looks the obvious one to bring us home with the breeze with Illustrious Lad the only danger I can see.
    Think the fence will be off today so happy to be with swoopers!

  9. Scott, great get with I Am A Star. One of mine. Filthy I overlooked it.
    Jock, hope you rolled home with Illustrious Lad? Double figures in the last is gold.

  10. Yes, rolled home big time,the bank is in place for the rest of the week now. Actually found Flying Artie earlier in the day just because it was $13 so that was a bit of a bonus as I didn’t plan on backing him.

  11. Scott McIntyre says

    Thanks, Christopher. She is a filly that I have always rated. I don’t like to anthropomorphise horses too much, but if there was a horse going around who “deserved” to win a nice race like that it was I Am A Star.

    The unlucky defeat of McCreery is still a bit raw. Would have turned a solid day into a big one.

  12. You blokes are in form…quick back up to Tuesday. Winners please.
    I’ve been at Mornington today. Big crowd. Awful weather.
    The goss is that Weiry’s ready to pull the pin on the ‘Bool – Eddington?

  13. and, though the Cummings dynasty story of James’ Derby is wonderful, let’s also acknowledge the feat of Kris Lees’ training another G1 in the Cantala yesterday – his old man trained the mighty Luskin Star. Racing has very strong family ties.

  14. Haven’t backed a cup winner since Kensei so I’m slightly overdue although did back Doriemus 2nd time around when both myself and Greg Hall were confident he won but even that was almost 20 years ago.
    Bearing the above in mind, I’m on Almandin tomorrow. Owner/trainer knows how to win, jockey is in great form and very soft win last time out-been in cotton wool since and will be ready to go. Don’t know how to line up the internationals but sensing that Bondi Beach will go OK, maybe a Williams quinella.
    The rest of the card is tough but like the following:
    Race 3 Murphys Delight
    Race 4 Demonstrate currently $1.70…on drugs. Looked at the replays and though Magic Boy was every bit as good as Sovereign Nation last time out and 30/1 vs 7/1 so decison made
    Race 8 Lidari and Turnitaround, there are a few leaders here and may set up a backmarker
    Race 10 might try a roughie in Khutulun EW if the track looks OK

    If you need a get out, Otherwise OK will win the 8th at Morphettville

  15. cowshedend says

    Took the earlies Oceanographer so will keep my hands in my pockets. But im with you Jock the handicap has never brought me much joy, reckon Hyperno was about my last.
    Typical cup day massive fields with mediocre substance.
    Will wait for the 2nd last for a decent play Ruettiger.

  16. Big Orange / Hartnell in cup for me

  17. That’s a 29 year drought broken.

  18. Well done Jock. Any luck on the punt?

  19. Had a win but needed Hartnell out of a place for the pick 4…I didn’t think he’d get the 2 miles, finished with the last trifecta, so still some ammo for the final 2 days but back at work tomorrow so I’ll be quiet on Thursday

  20. Good on you Jock…you’ll never die wondering.
    I stayed out but weakened for Ruettiger, following some “real” money. alas

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