Almanac racing…MV mid-winter with the Winning Post on my mind

“I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall…” *

You know its mid-winter when you donate more to MyChemist than to TAB’s MyAccount! The new “synthetic” track at Geelong is already on high rotation as dank conditions shroud Australia’s south-east.

There’s little temptation to cough up, then, $4.20 for a Winning Post. But I have. And I expect readers to ultimately nod their understanding. There’s not a lot of “passing traffic” on the racing niche of so it is fair to assume that any readers have a pretty keen interest in the horses. And, if so, it is inevitable that at some stage there has been an urging and a yearning to “chase the dream” of owning a champion.

I succumbed early (Uni Days) and learnt my lesson, despite us having a smart little filly with the ‘Allo ‘Allo –esque name of Allez Bien, a Cheltenham (SA) winner, but at the wrong time ….it is a very long story. Reluctantly recognising the limitations of lack of control and hefty reliance on luck, I’d subsequently resisted many overtures as well as the annual Cinderella story which the media heralds to compensate for the billionaire barons who dominate the profiteering…neither do I take a Powerball or read horoscopes.

But I sidestepped realism a couple of years ago, accepting a tiny commitment with my brother to a share in a Colt for the sake of a common interest and a “what the hell”…I’m sure you know the lack of logic and acknowledge that, if it doesn’t hurt the budget, it doesn’t hurt.

So I’m back in the Sport of Kings or, more specifically, King Carnage. And he’s flying. And he’s racing at the Valley like so many other champs have done (+, sure, millions of duds!). Thus the Winning Post and its bold print…MV R5 No8 Barrier 18!!!…yes, there’s the cruel reality of racing and, given I’ve put a pen through so many bad draws at the “Ponds Saucer”, I must caution. But with a solid pace and the ubiquitous “luck in running”, who knows? We need to appreciate that so many don’t get to this level and just enjoy the “vibe”. My brother won’t be there anyway, which on superstition enhances the chances, but still detracts from the perfect outcome…which always seems to involve a Quaddy, the family and heaps of happiness.

Racing sells the dream at many venues again this Saturday and, at Moonee Valley, I’d warn that the track could, in fact, be OK – perhaps a Slow 5 or 6 as the big rains have mostly dodged us this week.

To be honest, I thought this was the Hiskens meeting (it is 3 weeks away) – such was my detachment from the setting season- but the champion jumper Black and Bent is still probably the main drawcard and will start favorite to win the flat 2500m “Banjo Patterson” (sic) Series Heat 6. Australia’s iconic poet, A. B. Paterson adopted the pseudonym “Banjo” after a horse raced by his family and so it is great that his name adorns the prize sought by these tough stayers, especially Smerdon’s wonderful all-rounder. Banjo might even see the laugh in his name being memorialized with an extra “t” and his family’s old steed’s moniker being better recalled nowadays as Lettsy’s sidekick at the Carnival!

Despite it not being a leg of the Quaddy, I reckon R4, The Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club Handicap (hilariously for Mares!), is the pick of the card and, in it, No 5, Silent Sophia, the E/W bet of the day.

The nation’s major meeting this Saturday is probably the Guineas/Cup collective at the Sunshine Coast, as indicated by D. Oliver’s presence, as well as that of the redeemed D. Nikolic (as tipped on this site months back) who displayed his relieved emotions and skills with winners at Geelong on Wednesday. I’ve had no luck up north so will stay out unless convinced otherwise (Elvis?).

So I’m going to the Valley on Saturday and, with no AFL again in Melbourne, hopefully there’ll be a few others there to enjoy what I’ll concede is pretty ordinary fare for most, but nevertheless means more than just Sky Channel divs for anyone who dares to dream. Look for me at Turfbet in the main ring and hopefully in the bar after the last!

*(A.B. Paterson, “Clancy of the Overflow”)


  1. Mic Rees says

    Chris – I’ve been charged with the responsibility of guest tipster for our Punters Club this weekend – the fools!

    I’ll have something on King Carnage & Silent Sophia.

    Will speak highly of you when I’m collecting.


  2. There’s your running double!
    What about boxing up 1,2,3 for Quinellas in R3?

  3. mark freeman says

    Crio don’t want you to be looking forward to that Hiskins meeting – there ain’t no Hiskins no more.

    And there ain’t no going over the sticks at the Valley, nor Headquarters ever again. Jumps racing has been brought to it’s knees by muppets that don’t understand that if horses could talk, and you asked jumpers if they wanted certain death at the knackery, or one per cent chance of death at the track along with hours of grooming and good feed etc, you’d reckon they’d tell the anti-jumps campaigners to stick it up their own jumpers.

    Good luck with KC tomorrow, will be listening out for it. I’ve got the winter punting pipe and slippers on – just having a very modest nip at Deano’s quaddie each week, along with a buck or two on any jumps races going over the weekends.

    If there’s one tip I’ve got for the winter, it’s have a buck on a jumps race when you can – one of the key performance indicators that will determine the future of the caper at season’s end is betting pool sizes.

    Besides, there’s no better value for your sporting dollar than having a buck quinella on a Casterton steeple and jumping on bigpond racing and watching it all unfold over the hedges – pure gold.


  4. Love that Casterton track, except for the first which comes up a bit early. It’s really funny how the jumps are at Sandown. a great, cross-country type course and with excellent viewing, but Flemington was the safest track in the world…flat and easy bends!
    On behalf of bookies’ clerks, i encourage support of the jumps….it gives us time to get a coffee and have our roll, unlike those 2 y.o scampers. In fact, Freezer, more damage is probably done to the youngsters sprinting on hard tracks than the hardened old timers over the sticks.
    I’m living the dream again this week. MCG tonight, MV tomorrow, MCG Sunday, Toc for golf Wednesday and Thursday…and 4 weeks until i head up for the Darwin Carnival!

  5. Crio,

    Good luck tomorrow. I don’t think the barrier will worry him given his racing pattern. If he drew the pole you would be concerned.

    If it reduces the cost of a Quaddie, I think the toppy is a good thing in the last. Great dist and MV form, wins on all surfaces and is the race record holder.

    Queensland racing gets more diluted every week, The Esk cup must be around the corner. If I spot anything at the sunny coast will let you know.

    Fomalite. The half brother is having his first start tomorrow in Darwin. Race 1, Hillfire. Goes alright apparently.

  6. Mark Freeman says

    Yes but the flat and easy bends didn’t mean it was safer for the up and overs Crio – in fact that was the trouble at Headquarters – it just encouraged them to run along at too great a clip, and then when they hit em they’d go arse over tit and really damage themselves.

    They’ve kept them to places like Sandown, the Bool and Casterton so that they would run up hills and down gullies and pace themselves better. Combined with more meaningful obstacles – making horses and riders stand off and jump them properly rather than just brush through as the previous straw debacles allowed – it should allow for safer jumps racing. But it’s very unlikely to go ahead after this year given the unrealistic goals set for this season by Racing Victoria.

  7. I know what you mean Mark. Do you reckon Black and Bent can jump?

  8. Elvis, i see my old foe “King Mufhasa” is going around again…it is a card stacked with underperformers but there must be some who have waited for the right grade?

  9. BTW, re Melb Quaddy…I’ve taken the King into Black and Bent (tip for Oak Heart since) into Ghostmilk (reluctantly) in to field. Thought the last was tough so will reinforce the topweight.

  10. mark freeman says

    CONGRATS Crio and Budge!! Very exciting win, I wish I’d seen the mounting yard “carnage” that you two may well have created after he saluted. Out very wide all the way, but the boy held him together very nicely I thought. Been at a family do all arvo so haven’t seen the rest of em yet , but am hoping the other legs have got up.

  11. Thanks mate. No mounting yard carnage. I was straight back to work and the Budge was not there.
    Missed Quaddy twice by a short half head! So it goes!

  12. mark freeman says

    Yes I’ve had a look at the rest – turned the good tip to dust. Bloody Niptious.

    Would have been nice to have had a lazy double cray on the KC-field-field trifecta – return of 3K. Ah it’s all very easy in hindsight.

  13. Chalkdog says

    was in TAB in Toorak Rd [its a long story as most of mine are] when a tabfly helpfully suggested the KC-FIELD-FIELD Tri AFTER the event. Left with a voucher in my kick so didnt think much of it till I saw the exotics divs on TVN in a comnfy watering hole a few hours later. Are they plotting the King to take on the Sprint on Cox Plate Day? He seems to love that place!

  14. Maybe Chalk, though I fancy that late climb at Ascot for the Kings’ Stand Stakes…except I could not wear those pathetic top hats and suits – how come no one just tells them to jam that stupid habit?

  15. Peter Flynn says


    Top hat is mandatory only in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.

    I could’ve got into the Royal Enclosure but passed it up due to the hassle of organising a top hat.

    Ripper views and facilities to be had outside the Royal Enclosure.

    There are heaps of bars named after gun horses. I had a few pints in the Choisir Bar.

    There are plenty of Francesca Cumani types to keep the visual cortex stimulated.

  16. Now you’ve got me thinking of the mounting enclosure. You are, indeed, a man of the world Peter.
    I haven’t been to Ascot for 25 yrs and the makeover looks brilliant. One day…??

  17. Tony Robb says

    Crio, Why or why did I decide last Saturday that winter racing was getting to hard to find a winner. I had a couple of bets from race five on based on Deannos tips. Had I however stuck with the tried a true form guide of follow the money and follow the TVN’s market mover Id have got up the 1st four races. Had a big go on the toppy in the last to for a good result but it was a day that the bookies took a flogging I assume given 5 or 6 Favs also got up in Sydney ( I gave Syndey away a month ago for the same reason as mentioned above and searched fruitlessly up north until my faith in Molito was finally justified )

    Well done on the win mate

  18. Bookies are cast. There’s no money on the ground so its just us v professionals and we are not winning. Sydney is red hot…drifting favs miss the start!! Follow the money. Getting top odds is not as important as getting on the right horse. Seasons don’t matter to me because I rarely back a winner anyway, but it is funny that punters reckon the Carnivals are best and bookies usually fill-up on them!
    King Carnage off for a spell. I might have to as well!

  19. Tony Robb says

    So Crio
    Do you think the day of the on course bookie is numbered. I was at Flemington last long weekend and while it was a poor day the crowd was low and the tote seemed to be doing most of the action. On line betting offers to many advanges that bookie cant, other than, as you point out, the nongs who only come out for the spring carnival which is taking candy from kids.

  20. There will be corporate reps on course but the independent operator has a bleak future…it is already the case of having no bookies at some trots and dogs races and now many of the satchel swingers won’t go to the bush. It is not just about beating the punter. The overheads can mean that, without decent turnover it is a waste of time. Phones have helped though it has accentuated that feeling of not really smelling the action, which was the case in years gone by and why any smart punter would spend his day in the betting ring.

  21. Chalkdog says

    Crio, is it just me or would others who know you also find it hard to imagine you in a morning suit & tophat? I do find the thought of Francesca alot more appealing.

  22. I agree entirely, but Joe Janiak made the sacrifice.
    Our English spy reckons Francesca Cumani’s Mum was an even better “type”!

  23. Crio,
    Glad you went live with your declaration of ownership. Its always good to share good fortune with others. Hope they took the tip.
    PS – wish I was there!! hope there is a next time!

  24. I’m even tempted to go the photo!
    Loved King’s ride on the King…memories of his Star of the Realm heyday!

  25. Have to go the photo – straight to the pool room!
    King did what you would expect from a quality jock -sensed he had a bit underneath him and backed himself in.

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