Almanac Racing – pay attention!


Check out Ladbrokes prices for this round

Check out Ladbrokes prices for this weekend



With the real deal approaching rapidly, let’s begin formulating some survival strategies for the punt.

This necessity became apparent after last weekend’s grand entrée from the Gai “good for racing” stable.

Here’s a way to burn your dough.

Gai (and the giggling corporates) spruik a good thing. It shortens. On race day, naturally, there’s a correction until, eventually, another surge smashes the S.P.


Plenty in Sydney. Poor bloody Vancouver – can they all be another Pierro? 1100m and beginning a new campaign. Allegedly 7/4 in to 5/4 in pre-post, he sneaks back out before the late crunch. Waller’s race hardened colt is the focus of the pros, who get the money.

But wait, there’s more. She’s always worryingly reminded me of Dick Smith in drag (and relation?), so shameless selling is never a problem.

Here’s Saturday 15/8/2015 metro results.

Rosehill. 6 runners. No winners. Countryman $1.70/$1.90/$1.80. Vancouver $2.10/$2.70/$2.40. Woodbine $3.90/$5.50/$4. Greatwood $7/$9.50/$6.50. Global Domination $6.50/$5. Spurtonic $7.50

Caulfield. 2 runners. Excess Knowledge looked a likely improver. Probably a $7 pop in a G3 first time at the tricky Heath. Not with the First Lady. $4.20/$5/$4.60. 5th of nine. More realistically, Giulietta, a 10/1 quote, finished down the track in the G2 Quezette.

Fair dinkum, bookies must love her!*

(*for the record, I reckon those Group horses will be alright and, of course, there’ll be winners in Sydney…but the hype’s the trap.)


Meanwhile, let’s look at some better value choices.

Down here, D.Lane screams out as a good option. A talented young hoop, Lane’s returned from mixing it with the very best in Hong Kong and should now be ready to challenge as a leading rider in Victoria. Catch That Cat in R4 and At First Sight in the last are a couple of possibilities for him to salute at MV.

Up in Sydney I still reckon James McDonald is the best, but I’m a real fan of Sam Clipperton. The 21 yr old lightweight is rubbed out until next week but then stick with him. He’s pretty easy to spot in a finish – it appears to my untrained eye that he still uses his legs to help drive the horse, unlike most who are motionless from the shoulders down. Clipperton has learned from the best – his master, Ron Quinton, was a champion jockey and is a champion fella.


Another decision to be made involves where to bet. Here’s the truth from the betting ring. Caulfield is a graveyard. The Valley is tough, especially when an early bias becomes evident as the pros narrow the chances and target the remainders. Counter-intuitively, Flemington’s big fields and greater depth attracts punters but statistically it is the cash cow for the satchel swingers. And, despite Gai’s gorging, bookies generally reckon you can’t win in Sydney – just too few chances and the bigger plunges tend to arrive (and the alarming drifters miss the kick).

Handicaps or set weights? Juveniles or open age? Straight dashes or dour stayers? City or the bush? It is not as though we’re lacking options. Make decisions if you intend winning – otherwise, just set a limit and be prepared to write it off as “entertainment” (still more fun than the movies!).


They’re forecasting 19 degrees (and some showers!) for Melbourne on Saturday, so maybe the seasons are finally changing. There’s still another week until G1 action (Memsie @Caulfield 29/8) but there are reasons to follow, even get to, the Melbourne races this weekend – crowds in Moonee Ponds were always better when the Bombers were playing away or losing, so that augurs well.

In general it is a pretty typical Valley meeting with a couple of obvious highlights.

The Mitchell McKenzie Stakes (MR6, 1200m, 3yo C+G, SWP) has Listed status but its strength usually only becomes measurable in retrospect…in fact, some of the more impressive winners have sucked me in only to ultimately fail to reach the forecast heights (Light Fantastic, Amah Rock, Cauthen).

Tread warily.

The Carlyon Stakes (MR7, 1000m, SWP, Listed) is certainly the day’s feature. Much has been made of Éclair Choice’s trial form on a Heavy behind Alpine Eagle and here he faces some smart opponents and some track specialists in what should be a really spirited betting race. Il Cavallo and Tansy (both placed) are, remarkably, the only contestants without a Valley win! Gregers will vie for favouritism and, if it becomes a leader’s track, I might have a place ticket on Sweet Emily, a 20/1 chance, from the pole.


The best meeting in the nation is undoubtedly Randwick’s, though once again some of the programming confuses me…am I missing something or do they just spread the black ink thinly? Look, for example, at races 1 and 4. Both of them (SR1, Up and Coming Stakes, 1300m, 3yo, Quality, G3 and SR4, Silver Shadow Stakes, 1200m, 3yoF, SWP, G2) have attracted very good but quite small fields. Technically, the opening race is for any 3yo, but essentially none of the girls have chosen to take on Sebring Sun and co. The best of these will probably push on to The Golden Rose where, presumably, Vancouver and Japonisme will await. The fillies’ feature has only 6 acceptors and Snowdens’ Kangarilla Joy, at 5/1 or 6/1, has maybe the greatest upside.

Note that Sydney has a forecast top of 25 degrees for Saturday so finally they get to establish some firm track form – disregard a lot of the Autumn squelch.

The Warwick Stakes (SR6, 1400m, WFA, G2) sees the return of the enigmatic First Seal. From punters’ honour board to dart board, this former boom filly saw her status slide as, invariably at short odds, she kept finding one better until eventually flopping in April’s Queen Of The Turf. How will punters react to this challenge, already complicated by Chris Waller providing 6 of the starters? And what do you do about Messene, the Hawkes gelding which was 9/4 to 11/2 in the Missile and ran accordingly? I’m wondering if Zaratone might sneak a cushy lead and run a cheeky race at about Kenny Callander odds (66/1) or, more realistically, provide It’s Somewhat (No8, about 10/1) with a good cart allowing McDonald to kick at the rise. Excellent race.

On what is a really interesting programme, probably the best of the rest are the Show County Quality (SR7, 1200m, G3) and the Toy Show Quality (SR2, 1300m, F+M), which is timetabled way too early in the day for its calibre.

Whilst the trial fields stay larger and better than the TAB alternatives, the formguides are looking better and it is time to watch the replays on a Sunday morning.

I’ll be juggling form and cricket the next few nights, on the Rails at MV for any visitors coming by on Saturday and, as always, hoping for some banter and bankers (not rhyming slang) on the site.

Good luck!







  1. Enthusiasts probably already know but, for the record, Criterion races tonight (?) at York in the Juddmonte, which this year looks to have garnered one of the season’s strongest fields. It appears to be a match-race between the unbeaten Golden Horn and dual Guineas winner Gleneagles. Hayes’ horse will be bolter’s odds.

  2. Crio…’ll be juggling cricket the next “few” nights? You’re optimistic in modern day test cricket! ;-)

  3. Gleneagles was scratched on the wet going in York and Golden Horn was bloused by a 50/1 pop. Criterion about 5th.

  4. As usual this is a great summary Crio. I can’t get enthused about the racing this week as heavy rain is forecast for Friday here adding to already saturated tracks. You know it’s wet when the local trainer enters four for Mildura Friday in the hope the track is going to provide good going.
    A walk to the beach in the wind produced one good piece of news today-David Hayes has an excellent strike rate on the synthetics in Victoria (is that due to his track at Euroa being the same?) Otherwise it was a real effort and a trial for track riders and trainers-who would want their job in winter?
    Alpine Eagle steps out in the Penny Edition Stakes Sat so we should get a guide to the Spring while ex jock Alan Peterson brings Run Diego over from Warrnambool (big ask in hard race)
    I like Stokes horse in the big one in Melbourne but after a good run last week will not do too much damage

  5. Crio, couldn’t agree more more with Gai. If you feel like a laugh from time to time and have twitter, add

  6. Here’s one first up this week worth following through the Spring. Check this win out

  7. I’ll get in early for Sat….Alpine Eagle does appear a real risk in the Penny Edition but will no doubt strip far fitter for the Memsie, assuming that’s his next mission. He trialled as though he had plenty of improvement in him and the inner track at Morphettville will do him no favours either. Obviously well in at set weights and has panels on these at his best but prepared to risk him Sat. With Riziz 2nd fav it clearly says he doesn’t have a lot to beat but my knockout is Go Indy Go which normally improves with a run under the belt. Jury probably still out on 1st up run also.
    I also think the hype on Eclair Choice is a bit over the top, was impressive in trial but didn’t break a minute for 1000m so not sure it’s good enough trial form to beat Gregers at set weights + penalties. They did bet $3.30 Gregers which I think is great value, even being a mare giving the males weight I would’ve thought she’d have a bit on theses fresh. Gate 11 the only query.
    Will do a little wet track form for Adel later and see if there is some value there…..are we looking at Heavy for Adel?
    After knocking all that out, Alpine Eagle probably wins by 6 and Eclair Choice toys with them, but value wise I’d need to play the bookie!
    Cricket wise, the Aussies have survived the first session so hopefully they can now make a real game of it….it’s always nice to bowl last isn’t it?? Thankfully they’ve given Siddle a go finally!

  8. Here’s another for your Spring black book. Very few Zabeel’s win as 2yo’s and I the astute Murray Baker yard. Name is ZACADA.
    Here is his only start to date. Watch for him in guineas and/or derby

  9. Sorry. Click on performance and then the video next to his start. Green colours out wide early. Oozes quality.

  10. I notice the ‘Jerilderie Flier’, Sweet Emily, is back at the Valley; second up from a spell. She had a great prep over the warmer months , especially at the Valley. First up from her spell, she was unplaced. Her form on rain affected tracks was nothing to write home about, but if the heavens don’t open, let’s see how she goes. I’ll put some hard earned on her.


  11. There looks to be a few good things tomorrow at MV.

    Odyssey Moon-race 6 should have a mile on the opposition. 2nd in a group 1, beaten 2 len in the slipper should see it win easily- Sydney horses generally transition to the valley OK and if it is wet that isn’t a problem either $5 looks attractive.
    Sardaaj in the 5th also looks a class above, particularly for anyone who liked it last week before it was scratched (barrier 17).
    If there is any upset for the day, I reckon it could be Le Bonsir in the sprint, he has had a run goes well at MV and will get a good spot off a lot of early speed. For the record, Gregers is a group 1-2 horse and Eclair Choice isn’t – maybe group 3 type at this point so I’d be risking Eclair Choice who will be shortish based solely on it’s trial.
    The Adelaide meeting is all about how Alpine Eagle will go and that’s probably pretty well. Go Indy Go was disappointing 1st up and will need to improve a lot, initially I thought Alpine Eagle was a risk but the lack of depth in the field will help and he should win easily. Caro Kann looks a good thing in the 4th, Northern Zhar a big risk in the 5th -getting back from gate 1 and Streetcar valour is a hope in the last as the track will probably improve and he could get a good run off the speed which is probably Youbolt with Back on Target having to work early to get outside it.

    Good to see the Aussies could show a bit of respect to conditions and opposition last night and get reward for it. Sadly the Bays didn’t get any reward last week after leading until the final 60 seconds when Port found a goal..tragedy.

  12. cowshedend says

    Budge, that Gust Of Wind clip is amazing, bigger run than Belle De Jour, considering it had to circumnavigate the entire field an was still a few lengths off the 2nd last horse at the top of the straight.
    its sectionals must have been remarkable!

  13. Agree with you Cowshedend-haven’t seen anything like this run for a long time
    Budge-your track record leading into the Spring and in fact during is pretty impressive-keep it coming

  14. King Buddy a good each way chance at decent odds MV race 5. Suppose Gregers too good inR7 but give Fast Cash a show first up (unbeaten fresh). Albonetti wins the 3rd (blinkers on).

  15. Budge, I’m with you on Gust Of Wind, had something on it and also something on Beaten Up at $101. Although I’m not expecting them to win, I find it difficult to walk past value!

  16. I had noticed last week that the Penny Edition was approaching but whenever I see Morphettville Parks I just assume a second rate meeting. Why’s this key race not on the course proper?

  17. Jock,

    Sadaarj, Sadaarj, Sadaarj. Named by someone with the creative thought of a dust mite (see breeding), but all the same a special. Won her first two, then a second in a Group 2 and a second in a Group 1. that’s pretty special anywhere. Class. Just wins. As for your tip re Odyssey Moon in the 6th, consider the Fastnet Rock first starter. Never heard of the Sydney trainer, but first start in Melbourne with C. Williams on board has led me to have a lick at the $7.

  18. Budge,

    I backed Gust Of Wind to win last seasons Oaks off that run. Extraordinary. They just don’t do that..

  19. Crio,

    How was dinner last week with Kim. Mac and Ernie. Hope the four of you had a blast.

  20. too cryptic for me Elvis.
    Reckon the trials are “must watch” now. Some really good horses ready to return. Still, only one wins each race.

  21. Budge,

    Zacada. You may have found an absolute star. Had a pretty hard and wide run, but had the audacity to prick his ears for the most part of the straight. On the back of watching that replay, I’ve backed him to win the Guineas at $126. Well done (thus far) Thanks.

  22. So he now runs second in the guineas and wins the Derby.

  23. Less spectacular, but Amorino was convincing at the Cranbourne trials

  24. Elvis, I’m grateful you weren’t in charge of naming all the Ingham horses….you left the “R” out!
    Thankfully they didn’t name it Raajsar because this has been a life long ambition of mine to have a horse with that name.

  25. Higgo. Seems to me you need aim a bit higher with your life long ambition….

  26. Elvis, Just back from 100 reds and dinner at BBQ Inn,
    I also backed the Gust in the Oaks, proves it can carry weight!.
    First starter by Fastnet needs to be very good against proven runners, 7/1 is probably unders I reckon but we’ll see how it pans out.
    Zacada win was pretty good 3 wide and ridden but brained them

  27. Higgo like your ambition, we always tried ( unrealistically) to get the name “Clear Tauris” through

  28. Should have layed Alpine Eagle on the Parks track – it is still gangly and that’s not a get-back circuit.

  29. pertinent to yesterday’s discussion relating to horse names…one of my favs won SR7 today (and I gave it a sneaky show at 33/1 but desisted).
    Decision Time, by Foreplay out of Daunting Thought

  30. Happy to see Riziz win, though didn’t have enough $$ on it ! Its recent form had not been great, unplaced at its last three starts, never having won over 1400 metres, and not having won at all for over 12 months. Yet it was too strong for short priced favourite Alpine Eagle.

    The over Sweeney trained sprinter running yesterday, Sweet Emily at Moonee Valley, just couldn’t maintain her pace, tailing off. Always next time.


  31. Indeed Glen, still not sure Riziz is a genuine 1400m horse though, the slow pace and inner track helped him run the trip. I was just glad to see Alpine Eagle go over, got it well layed on Betfair.

  32. True Higgo, this was his 37th start. Prior to this victory he’d had 3 starts over seven furlongs with 2 seconds his best result. I always thought the 1,000-1,200 meter sprints were his best runs. Riziz is 7 now, so maybe this is his last prep. He’s been a good runner for the Sweeney stable, with 24 placed runs from 37 starts

    I can only hope the other good Sweeney family sprinter, Sweet Emily, can regain some form. She was wonderful in her previous prep, but her 2 starts this prep has been unplaced


  33. Glen – Sweet Emily went pretty well. They absolutely flew. she’ll find a Friday night prize at the Valley again this season.

  34. continuing the discussion of names…here’s the winner of [email protected] Dogs on Saturday.
    Vlahos (sire: Bye Bye Bucks)

  35. How about the Ebor winner, first up after a year and a half over 2800 metres, not a bad training effort.

  36. Didn’t see that Jock. How on earth are you supposed to do any form?

  37. True Crio, Sweet Emily is always quick of the mark. When we get a bit of warmth in the sky, with the subsequent drier tracks i’d be happy to recommend her to fellow punters. Roll on Summer; Sriing first though


  38. Crio – Bye Bye Bucks? Was Traralgon R1 before or after the Collingwood capitulation? Talk about going to the dogs.

  39. Good naming Crio, although I think I would’ve called it Tinkler.

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