Almanac Racing: J. J. Liston meeting

A fascinating day’s racing is in store for those who venture to Caulfield this Saturday with some seriously good horses returning only to be confronted with a heavy track and some strong winter performers. The punt, therefore, looks a tricky prospect but my advice is to study the parade ring, look at the racing pattern and, most importantly, get a new black book for the Spring season.

J J Liston Stakes day always signals the transition to better races and it commemorates an incredible personality in Melbourne’s social and sporting history. It was said at one stage that he “ran Williamstown” – mayor, publican, head of the Williamstown Football and Racing Clubs, his influence was much broader. At once President of the Victorian Football and Soccer Associations (and a businessman and benefactor of note), his legacy survives with the tennis courts at Willy, the Trophy for B+F in the VFA (now VFL) and this Gr2, WFA 1400m race, held for a time at Sandown and a reminder of the MRC’s evolution from Willy, the VATC and other racing associations.

The feature race (R6) has a cracking line-up. Winners of the previous AJC and VRC Derbies, the Melbourne and Auckland Cups, the Cox Plate…most of the big players in last, and possibly this, Spring, including WFA stars such as Predatory Pricer and Heart of Dreams. This whole field is printed in black type. Unquestionably this race will shape many spring programmes and markets. I’m still bitter over Vigor’s non-running in last year’s Cup and will try to chase that lost money at good odds tomorrow. But don’t bust your bank just yet. Watch and wait. Here’s a link

This same philosophy applies across most of the card. Crack Blue Diamond winner, Star Witness, returns in the Vain Stakes (R3) – now there was a horse!- and puts the juvenile hoodoo up against rising star Breitling, himself in a developing grudge with Snowden’s impressive Soul. There are so many divergent formlines here and some really good 3 yr olds. Moody/Nolen could provide the blowout with Master Harry.

The Quezette Stakes (R4) sees the return of Golden Slipper champ Crystal Lily who will start justifiably short. Let them go around.

In the first leg of the Quaddy, punters will be anxious to watch Avenue in the enclosure. She looked a star in her first prep, but didn’t quite deliver last time in. If she is right then she should be too good and be an anchor.

The other really interesting race at Caulfield looks to be the Cockram Stakes (R8) in which Rue Maple seems well suited, but My Emotion, Irish Lights and Lady Lynette will be the ones to watch for future assignments.

If the track falls apart, put dour Haddle McDaddle, with in form Jake Noonan up, in to your get-out exotics. 7 and 15 must be in calculations also in the last. Hopefully we can build a small bank for the even better weeks ahead.

The 2010 J. J. Liston Stakes will be the 61st and final running of the Group 2 race carrying that name. From 2011, the Melbourne Racing Club will re-name the race the P.B. Lawrence Stakes, in honour of the former Chairman and long-serving Committeeman Peter Lawrence. Any serious punter won’t miss watching this final instalment.


  1. Andrew Fithall says


    The land of the Williamstown racecourse has been returned to its former state as wetlands. It is a lovely place to walk or bikeride. Like the Williamstown football ground it is right by the sea. The few clues to its former life are the road – Racecourse Rd – on which it sits, a small horse sculpture depicting, I think, Phar Lap, who actually won the Underwood at Williamstown, and the remnants of a grandstand. It ceased operating as a racecourse in 1940, and was an army camp in the second world war.


  2. Peter Flynn says


    I’ll always call it the JJ Liston Stakes (ripper edition this year) and will probably boycott the first running under the new name next year.

    Changing traditional race names is one of the rare things that drives me bonkers.

  3. Doesn’t make any sense in this regard, Flynnie, given the link with the past and its great history. No disrespect to Peter Lawrence but surely a dining room will do for him.

  4. Andrew Fithall says

    And my next door neighbour in Williamstown, John Martin, won the Liston Trophy in 1956, playing for Williamstown. John enjoys the races – has his radio tuned in as he works in his garden each Saturday afternoon. I will ask him tomorrow his view of the race name change. I am pretty sure he won’t be happy.

  5. David Downer says

    Smooth summary Crio.

    The Liston meeting looks, or at least “feels” better than previous years. Maybe the Winter’s been too long and cold. I may even give the Sandringham trip to Nth Ballarat a miss and lob to “the Heaf” instead – as the Gauch would pronounce it.

    I hope Star Witness kicks on, most Blue Diamond winners wouldn’t have pulled off such a barnstorming finish – well at that age at least …and of course, I was happy to take the 8-1 on the day.

    I got sucked into Avenue too many times in Summer/Autumn.

    Interested to see how Shoot Out fares on the “second up syndrome” front.

    Got any early Cups doubles going? Or are they generally not posted until the release of weights?


  6. Cups betting is available but not flourishing until weights, when Doubles go up.

  7. Crio
    At least we (I) know that Shoot Out CANNOT win, and that reduces the chances. Don’t know where I’m going with the race just yet, but if they all start, it is a ripper. We had honest, low lights a week ago, now we are witness to the cream. What a transition.

    Early “gut” tells me Monaco Consul. Moroney is looking to the “Arc” so the horse must be going alright.

    Will it be really heavy, or a good slow? I’ve got the air con on here.

  8. mark freeman says

    An outrage. Give Lawrence a bench on the lawn. What muppets. Almost as stupid as the new HS formguide – they’ve taken out horses’ career stats on tracks, first-up, second-up and performances on diff rated track etc. Unbelievable.

    Not sure of Elvis’ thinking on Shoot Out after the remarkable effort to kick up from the inside marble in the Bletchingly and kick again in the straight. Might be the single failure on the heavy, or it could be the famous Elvis gut feel (feel being the famous bit, not the gut!) that we’ve been learning about over the past season.

    Nicastro for me – big run after serious hip-and-shoulder on turn in Adelaide – and the Price pair in Liston.

    Don’t forget – huge day over the sticks at Sandown on Sunday, the Nationals and the Houlahan hurdle. All a bit sad at this time of year – should have been run in July. Nonetheless, get on Ciaron’s in the Houlahan (Man of Class) and in the Nat Hurdle (Regal Heir). The Steeple should be a ripper contest bw Tarawera and Juan Carlos. Definitely worth tuning in for.

    Good Punting


  9. Crio,

    Just keep referring to the race as the Liston. Takes away the pain of change. The Emirates, Honda, etc is still the George Adams, and a mile is 8 furlongs.

    Old Blighty at Ascot. Get on.

  10. Crio,

    In hindsight, 2 personal errors. 1600 metres is 8 furlongs, and Old Blighty is running at Belmont, not Ascot. Good luck tomorrow.

  11. Elvis,
    Big evening so would never have picked up your mistakes…Gully and Al send their regards.
    More importantly, give us some tips. I reckon it is a fantastic card but am dubious re punting options.

  12. Mate owns the Diva in Race 2 abd gives it a good show.

  13. Elvis,
    Did you get on Toorak Toff at the good odds?
    Also, what to make of Shoot Out now??..the defence for you might be that apparently no Liston winner has won the Melbourne Cup in the same year.

  14. Fair to say that I am absolutely filthy at somehow not getting on Haddle McDaddle in the last…too many reasons that I never even had a bet. Dread to see if any of my proposed Quinellas or Tris came up. It is a tough game.

  15. Crio
    Last was 13-12-15-7 [12 was Snort which was an omen from your trip to the territory to be sure] and FF paid about $15k and tri a tad over $1800. Also see you are using the Knacker to track your home time on Friday nights [ref Thread 11]

  16. Alarmingly, I later posted a race tip on Tom’s A-League comments!

  17. yes I saw that too but thought it might slip through to the keeper. Have I told you the story about Macka declaring a particular “dump” as his alltime greatest. Well that dump took place in Peter Lawrences bathroom. So if ever a man was to replace JJ Liston then Pumpy Lawrence is that bloke because and only because of his dumproom view…..

  18. Since you have now broached this appalling image/topic, was his the apartment near the Fitzroy Gardens?

  19. Yep

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