Almanac Racing – the Derby on the Marby

What tossers we are in Racing when Polo can run a series of ads lampooning the dress codes that Flemington will drool over this week…”leave your jackets and fascinators at home…”!

Derby Day is the height of Empire cringe and, with so many Brits in town for the Carnival, there’ll be a touch of Ascot in the Members’ Enclosure on Saturday for the VRC’s banner meeting.

The Derby, of course, is a ridiculous fixture; 2500m round a right-angled first turn, often on rock hard ground and way too early in the 3yo season. When there’s been a fairly lowkey Guineas and the Vase reached no heights, the “blue riband” is a top hatted distraction to the rest of the card.

As noted last year, the marathon programme has been tinkered with in recent years and, whilst some races occasionally struggle to merit a berth on a day of such profile, overall this meeting always delivers.

Despite my documented disastrous form, I’m keen to get involved on Saturday. Studying the form for Derby Day is a joy in itself – being outside Melbourne I’ll have to wait until Friday night to start underlining and highlighting, but I’ve already formulated a few opinions to generate discussion.

There’s a familiarity now of what to expect when you see the race list:

The Carbine Club (MR1, 1600m, 3yo, SWP, G3), sometimes a cracker, is a bit down this year. 3,6,1

The Wakeful (MR2, 2000m, 3yoF, SWP, G2). Regrettably this now remains the only race of the day which commemorates a horse – the mighty Wakeful being one of the great champions of the Australian turf.  It’s the traditional link from the Edward Manifold to The Oaks and has been won by some wonderful fillies, many with the JB polish. We’ve a good batch of girls this year so, despite the best profiled (Sacred Eye, Jameka, Stay With Me, Pasadena Girl) not running, it is still a fair field. 4,2,1

The Guvera Stakes (MR3, 1400m, H’cp, G3) is the old Chatham that’s been thrown about a bit over the years. Ripper betting race presented here with lots of depth. I’m tipping Red Excitement to win fresh, posting Disposition as the logical danger and conceding Charmed Harmony a show if leading is preferred. Many others are worth throwing in. Big watch on Kool Kompany, and chuck 11, 15 and 16 into wide speculators.

Everyone is looking forward to the Coolmore (MR4, 1200m, SW, 3yo, G1).  Exosphere is the star turn and is quoted as such. $1.45 first time down the straight? No thanks. Watch and, hopefully, enjoy. His best wins. The “support cast” are pretty good too. Very good edition.

The old Hotham (MR5, 2500m, Quality, G3) still dangles a Cup carrot but there’s more than a hint of a Metrop about this mob. Even the TAB has chucked it out of the Quaddy. No thanks.

The Mackinnon (MR6, 2000m, WFA, G1) gives some very good horses a chance to salvage their Spring. Happy Trails and Contributer have still not visited the winner’s enclosure this prep and Fawkner’s plateaued after his barnstorming start to this season. Good reasons abound but the G1 opps are disappearing. I’m going to give Rising Romance another go, despite a tricky draw. No arguments if you prefer others. An intriguing race where there’s a valid case to be made for each of them.

The fav in the Derby (MR7, 2500m, 3yo, SW, G1) has the right sort of form, but he’s short enough. I’d rather the 20/1 Etymology. 9,6,7

The Myer Classic (MR8, 1600m, F+M, WFA, G1) has become one of the most anticipated races of each Carnival. I’m an unabashed Abidewithme fan so will butter up at hopefully about 14/1.

The last (MR9, 1200m, H’cp, G2) is another tough challenge for punters. Knoydart hasn’t won for a long, long time but he seems to be going OK and might be the value get out.

I shudder to think of the gush you’ll cop if you have to watch Bruce and co but don’t let that detract from the races – as distinct from the “Event”. is likely the better option or just switch over at start time. Crowds haven’t been huge at feature days of late but, whilst the public numbers might have levelled off, I’m anticipating a packed Members and I’ll be doing my best to cajole them to the Elliott bag on Rails stand 14 (all 4 days). Come and say g’day if you’re there.

Otherwise, you know the drill. Tips please.

Good luck!




  1. Peter Warrington says

    Belmura Lad. In the MacKinnon. 100-1. What a day that was!

  2. Peter Warrington says

    Pornichet from Gailo Chop and Ecuador in the MAckinnon.

  3. It’s that sort of race Peter…I said they’re all a show and you’ve nominated some I’d have left out of multis. Next, of course, we’ll have to factor in any rain which might come. So far it must be a road.

  4. There’s races up in the Riverina on Saturday. To the eastern end they’re racing at the foothills of the Snowys in picturesque Tumut. On the western side theer’s Cup Day @ Berrigan. Some handy runners though i’d be putting my $$$ on the Corowa trained Marchello. Speaking of Corowa they’re racing there on Tuesday.

    Happy Punting,


  5. cowshedend says

    Crio , did the form yesterday and thought it a rather underwhelming Derby day by comparison to years past, did about an hour just on the Mackinnon and I too started coming back to a horse like Rising Romance (who was awful last start, but maybe the distance relief will be it’s saviour) there is a lot of horses the you need a big “forgive” against.
    Will be at the Penang Turf Club on Sunday to tick track 94 off visited list, exchange 3-1 so will walk out losing 3 times as much!

  6. Hayes said that Rising Romance was found to be in season last start. Forgive.

  7. Peter Flynn says

    Sydney form usually leads to a profit on Derby Day.

    Wait for the weather.

  8. yes, Flynny, and those adelaide trainers (Hucklebuck etc) were prominent last year.
    P.Stokes goes in to most multis.

  9. Peter Flynn says

    Agree Crio.

  10. Predicted winds, usually means leaders can’t win in the circle races. Just behind them and off the fence, islikely the place to be

    R1 Bassett
    R2 Dawnie Perfect – grab the price now for the Oaks
    R3 Artlee
    R8 Politness

  11. In my blurb on racing over the border, along and beyond the Murray i should have also mentioned Balranald. Technically i don’t consider it part of the Riverina, but it still has races this Saturday: Derby Day.

    My interest on Derby Day is Berrigan, a track i enjoy going to. It’ s one of the few NSW tracks which race Victorian style. I previously that I like the Corowa trained Marchello in the Cup. also have an interest in the 2014 winner, Defenceman trained on track by Emma Steel as well as the Brian Cox trained grey, Smoken’ll be a good day on track.


  12. I agree it’s probably not the best derby day ever ( particularly the Carbine Club) but still not too shabby.
    Dawnie Perfect looks to have a bit on them in the Wakeful based on her last run- Adelaide runners don’t look up to it here and maybe Bengal Cat still has some improvement.
    If Exosphere gets beaten, I think it has to be another Sydney horse and maybe Hellbent after it’s previous (poor ride) unlucky loss.
    High Midnight should be a big improver in the Lexus, off the track all the way last run but not certain he is up to the class in this which all the same isn’t the strongest Lexus ever run.

    Mackinnon-Flamingo Star was fantastic in the Toorak- Bowman replaces Newitt and I’m on board.Gailo Chop looks like a wet tracker so I’ll keep an eye on conditions.
    Derby- Tarzino looks hard to beat but 3 others also appeal Etymology looks like a 2500 metre horse and both get the picture and Pay up Bro were very good last runs. I’m leaning to the fav and pay up Bro.
    Myer- Cannot split Abidewithme and May’s Dream. Can’t believe Azkadellia is under 10/1 and prepared to risk Stay with Me based on inexperience and barrier.
    I’ll come home on Churchill Dancer because it loves the straight.and if it rains and gets cut up, that won’t matter.
    happy punting

  13. I also like Rising Romance so clearly she has little chance now. Extra Zero not hopeless either.
    Tarzino is too short in the Derby, the WA colt might be the one (cue Elvis).
    I’m happy to go again on Azkadellia though need to be $10 and lay Under The Louvre (again) and Exosphere ( first time down the straight and inside was poison this meeting last year).
    Not going tomorrow but will wander down to the Valley tonight.

  14. Beautiful night for the Valley but too tired. See how many bookies and punters are in the ring please and report.
    Logically we work on a fast track and reassess if necessary?
    You’ve probably got a big headstart if you don’t bet ahead and watch the coverage from home.
    Crazily, I’m going to bet in the last 4 races – Rising Romance, Etymology, Abidewithme, Knoydart – good names too!

  15. Budge,

    If they ran The Derby ten times over, Tarzino would win ten of them. Just havin a laugh,, the WA colt will be the one. Rarely have I read of a trainer with such confidence. If he travels and he eats, he wins.

  16. Too simple Elvis…all up something else or at least a roving banker?!

  17. Crio, made the mistake of having dinner before going and then couldn’t be bothered.

  18. Sort Cb. I like Knoydart too. Look elsewhere.

  19. Look elsewhere…what about Keeneland?
    American Pharaoh and Golden Horn! and G1 races in Japan and France and the jumps in Ireland!!

  20. Budge, spot on with Exosphere- might win if its just way too good but only a handful win from inside draws down the straight and first time there. I’ll be looking to lay it…I like laying shorties the place and expect that it will be 1/6 or thereabouts so if the worst happens it won’t cost too much.
    A lot of extra weight on Rising Romance.

  21. Crio,

    Fair cop. I thought Magic Artist might be over the odds in the MacKinnon. The trainer has lobbed here once before with Protectionist, so should have a clue as to the right horse to compete. 4 of last 5 starts have been in Group Ones has been competitive. Whilst I like Contributor, Magic Artist is my “unseen over the odds” each way bet.
    Artlee or Red Excitement win the third to get a Quaddie bank.

  22. Well named Moonee Valley R2 Andrassy. Maiden name of Greg Norman’s ex wife (pre Chris Evert).
    Sire is Sharkbite.

  23. There are reports of heavy and persistent rain to Melbourne’s south and east but the truth for Flemington is this :- much thunder activity from 530 this morning and a 30 minute deluge at 6am. Otherwise just glum. High cloud and no rain at the moment. So far the track would be unaffected. If a wave follows, tear up your formguides.

    btw, great get Budge re Andrassy. Laura Andrassy once made the incredible assertion that Greg Norman was a narcissist!

  24. I’m also potting Exoshpere at the price, Super One improves down the straight…looked lost the other day. Gailo Chop great value and prepared to make him a special if a deluge happened to arrive. Outside of the fav the Derby is very open. Tarzino’s to lose but Palace Tycoon silly odds and Etymology and Shards will go well. Although l don’t like mares races, Slightly Sweet does look a Flemington horse and looks freat value.
    Generalife and Fontelina value in the sprint.
    Good luck!

  25. Tread warily. Pouring here at Flemington

  26. At the desk editing The Footy Almanac 2015 with Bruce in the background.

    Here we go

    Etymolgy is the omen tip – and also actual tip for the Derby but I also like Shards
    Happy Trails – for the story
    Churchill Dancer loves the straight
    Dawnie Perfect – real momentum over the last 600 – she just kept coming.
    Bassett – would like slightly longer price
    Saab – no idea
    Disposition each way seems a bet to nothing

    How wet is it Crio?

  27. If rain keeps up Gailo Chop a spesh!

  28. Solicit suss at 1600 but great second up?

  29. I notice the forecast is for gusty northerly winds as well as rain- do we look to the outside fence in straight races?

  30. Wouldn’t want to be in the car park

  31. Squelching under P Donergan’s feet.

  32. Roughies firming here.
    10 solid
    8 is 50/1 in

  33. Jock you genius…lay Exosphere the drum

  34. Track issue for Exosphere? He looked like a Clydesdale.

  35. cashed up big time now and getting keen on Pay Up Bro and Hawkspur in the Lexus

  36. P, Stokes!

  37. After a busy 24 hours on the punt it’s nice to be in front. Not withstanding not one collect at Headquarters today, compounded with Claire Lindop being disqualified for weighing in heavy after finishing 2nd in the 6th in Adelaide; my money ! However good runs over both day including Les Darci, as well as good runs from bush visitors like Glowstick and Steel Trigger mean i’m up for the period.

    I’ll give it a rest while i’m in front and try to find the Berrigan results.


  38. and a reminder to anyone in Melbourne – the Almanac Cup lunch is remarkable value with Greg Carpenter’s insight, Robbie Griffiths’ observations and myriad other opinions – this year you might have to survive without my “don’t like the race” comment…not only is it a fascinating edition of the Cup, but work probably stops me from enjoying one of this site’s premiere occasions.

  39. Peter Flynn says

    O’shea or Waller?

    I side with Waller.

    Seemingly lazy and comfy on Exosphere.

    Poor Ride.

    Smacked of victory before job done.

    Australia’s greatest race day.

    Who is our greatest horse?


    If you say Winx, you have to qualify it.


  40. Peter Flynn says

    Good call Criio.

    A brilliant renewal of the Cup.

    Only 5 can win it.

    Just have to nail that5.


    Old mate

  41. Chautauqua?

  42. How good American Pharaoh?

  43. anyone in Melbourne, recommend the lunch tmrw. Great fun and pays for itself if you listen to the experts and not the urgers!
    If you can’t get there, join the trifecta speculation via the website spruik

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