Almanac Racing – It’s time

The great Let’s Elope passed away this week. She was a ripper and a throwback to old racing days and memories. A grand-daughter of Blushing Groom (itself out of Runaway Bride), the big chestnut mare revives memories of Bart and vintage Handicapping coups. Not that she needed much help. JB would’ve required the aviator sunnies to hide those raised bushy eyebrows when she got under the Handicapper with 48.5kgs for the Caulfield Cup and the game was already up when the unforgettable green and gold diagonal stripes with a white cap (the first colours Bart ever registered) dominated the Turnbull. The rest was familiar but no less impressive – the Cups double either side of a Mackinnon and then a dominant Autumn to round out 7 big Group wins in a row.

Carnival memories!

This week it is at Caulfield and Randwick that the puzzles are presented. Programs to match dreams are being mapped. Potential is tested.

Caulfield’s is an epic/greedy 10 race programme which, after a week of heavy rain, will test the Heath’s legendary drainage. It’s a funny meeting the relevance of which may not become apparent until later in Spring.

There’s a salient warning of holding high hopes in the first (MR1, 1200m, H’cp, BM78). I had serious tickets on Cauthen from arrival on our shores. He’s had moments. So, too, did Black Vanquish boast, and initially deliver, talent (drawn 20 Sat!). The spruiked fav is Shillelagh, unseen here but snared by Olly. Big field. Multiple formlines. Various targets. Danger! Punters must watch the betting because I can vouch from experience that the late money usually, like the Pony Express, delivers.

The old Naturalism’s a “Cup conditioner” (MR8, 2000m, Quality, G3) with plenty of chances and lots that might become black-bookers. Jameka might be ready to step up here. Could revert to Tom Melbourne if leader biased.

The Testa Rossa (MR7, 1200m, H’cp, Listed) is another race which connections will view as a stepping stone to further glory. It’s good to see Hucklebuck back but there’s stiff opposition. Keen Array’s the likely fav and Santa Ana Lane will have fans – am I the only one not impressed by his last start? Other chances include the 9 and 10 and I’m a bit of a sucker for Charlie Boy…it’ll likely be my bet at around 10/1.

It’s a good day’s racing at the Heath and, despite my miserable form, I’ll butter up again.

Best is Benny Goes Berzerk E/W in the 5th @ about 20/1.

Sydney’s card is tremendous but the undoubted star is Winx in the old George Main (SR6, 1600m, WFA, G1) – note Racing Australia, can you include the registered name on site? There’s always nervousness about the Randwick track and Sydney’s weather but it (cautiously) looks OK for her to continue her march, though there’ll be interest in some opponents and their subsequent worthiness/desire to head for a GF at the Valley in the Cox Plate. Tosen Stardom was slaughtered last start so he’s a big watch.

There are plenty of feature races in support. Cups markets will carefully monitor the Hill Stakes (SR5, 2000m, WFA, G2), especially as Weiry has brought Signoff up for the mile and a quarter after weights are out – Greg Carpenter has said it’s now or never for the Aussie stayer. He’ll be at long odds in this but under similar scrutiny to rejuvenated fav Hartnell and more fancied opponents like Preferment and Tavago. A small field but a fascinating contest. Before the advent of “Internationals” these sorts of races framed markets…no Irish St.Leger or Doncaster Cups back then!

The Shorts (SR7, 1100m, SWP,G2) could justifiably be the day’s main battle. Lots to like here in a terrific betting race. The fav, English, is a beauty, but Ball of Muscle, Japonisme, Clearly Innocent…wait to see how the track’s playing and then have a crack at this ripper race.

On a challenging day, reckon I’ll fall in (again) to Federal (SR8, No5) as my main bet up there.

Time to get excited. Bet up (responsibly!).

Good luck!


  1. Shillelagh is stablemate of Xtravagant. Cauthen is from ex kiwi Trent Busuttin’s yard and nearly everything he’s produced has saluted since he set up camp at Cranbourne.

  2. Yes some wonderful memories there Crio, and wasn’t Let’s Elope a great mare and from a wonderful family, intriguingly though, like almost all Melb Cup winners I think she failed at stud, well with her progeny anyhow. Not sure how next gen have gone, think it may have some good ones? Sadly, I’m not sure how many S King has ridden in the last 20 years, not many and he’s still going around!
    Haven’t done much form yet, but may get a chance to do so if Hawks kick away tonight and the TV reverts to the test pattern. There is a Blackbooker of mine in tomorrow though, Tandei Tondo is flying, still hasn’t got clear from last start. What would’ve happened if it did? Who knows, but at $21 happy to join in…interestingly the stable rider has hopped on Yesterdays Songs in same race.
    Big raps on Knew It and was $5 into $1.90 at 1st start, was slaughtered and won easily. Big step up but appears very good horse.

  3. Looks like a marathon at Caulfield and I’m hoping to start well with Caprese who will appreciate the drop back to 1200. The rail is out 9 metres so I don’t expect them to come from too far back early in the day.
    Race 4 Miss Gunpowder was a pretty good run after missing the start last time and will be too good if she jumps.
    Race 7 I’m on Santa Anna lane away from Flemington with a big weight advantage, interesting to see if The Virginian can run to it’s Straddy form.
    Race 8 Excess knowledge should improve a lot and is good odds which suits me
    I like Nevis in the last.
    I will watch Sydney but I’m finding it hard to get enthused enough to bet.
    Adelaide is interesting in that there is 10-15mm forecast and that could be enough to stop it if it comes around the start of the day. I’m expecting the go to be out wide in the straight and Jim’s Journey would fit that in race 7 but may find Raw Impulse too good. Cassh is Coming may be a good chance in the 5th with J Holder on board.

  4. Pretty much with you Jock on the Melbourne summary. Very keen on Happy Clapper in Sydney.

  5. Just watched the 2nd race at Caulfield….M Walker will have a couple of weeks to catch up on his golf!

  6. Caulfield pattern looks pretty well set: be in the middle of the track in the straight, last couple of races the fence runners hit a brick wall at the 200

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