Almanac Racing – the merry-go-round continues

New Year’s Day has always been saturated with race meetings as country clubs cash in on holiday crowds (e.g. Burrumbeet) and, in Melbourne, a dying tradition continues from the days when optimists packed the trains and began their calendar with a flutter on the Standish and the Bagot at Flemington.

There are still plenty of bush options and iconic days such as Hanging Rock but I’ll be at HQ hoping the debut of Oscietra (MR1, No10, 1000m, 2yoF, SWP) garners some publicity for a deserters’ day out. She’ll presumably add a positive note to the relentlessly negative feedback confronting the authorities as we face 2017.

Even one of the day’s great old races, The Standish (MR6, 1200m, G3) is this year reduced to a farce as all runners carry – in a Handicap – the same weight despite ratings ranging from 72 up to 98. Has Weiry pulled a shifty in not accepting original topweight Lucky Hussler, thus creating a 4kg uplift, or was it circumstantial? Either way, it must not happen again, especially in a Group race. Surely the toppy E/W is the bet, though I’m naturally cautious DKW’s 2.

The Bagot (MR7, 2800m, H’cp, Listed) was always the staying highlight of summer. Modest nowadays but still coveted by old-timers. It’s a bit of a jumpers’ flat so Number 1, despite 60kgs, is probably still the nap.

If you’re still trying to “get out” for 2016, there’s a twilight card at the Valley. Back on pacers I assume? Reckon I’ll get down there as it finishes by 9pm.

Racing never ceases, nor does our willingness to find a winner.

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay happy. And good luck!



  1. Trust all had a wonderful Xmas with their family and kids as I did….shame that mine are at the age now where they disbelieve in the obvious, and that is of course that Santa does indeed exist, regardless of vicious rumours from individuals such as Trump supporters. Fun police….sheesh!

    Had to comment on your well documented remark regarding the Standish Crio. These handicappers (or more so the system they run by) needs to have a good think about who they’re trying to help when they make changes such as…. Goodwood Hcp in Adel, it helps attract Group1 horses which is great for racing in Adel but how do the local trainers feel about it? Not happy I would think. They get a kilo or so less than a G1 horse. As crio quite correctly pointed out, Weiry has quite correctly under the rules, taken advantage of the system to manipulate the weights. He has been doing this for the last couple of years, accepting with a Group winner to compress weights then scratch. RV clearly need to address this as several trainers (in particular Weiry) is making a complete joke of them. He’s been doing it for years (including a couple of times with Pr of Penzance) and perfectly within the rules… the moment!!!

    Lets take the Standish e.g. A 6yo mare that has never been placed at Group level is weighted the same as a male that is a multiple G3 winner?? That’s clearly not a Handicap. Let’s call it the Standish Set Weights Stakes!

  2. It’s a good scam but not always successful… reference Adelaide Cup in recent times.
    Good luck with the punt and the New Year

  3. Hoping everyone can finish the old/start the new year on a good note, personally i’m pretty uninspired by the fields but there’s always a way.
    I’m interested in Boomwaa at the valley with a new trainer and lots of gear changes and also think Shiraz may be about ready in Sydney.
    On Sunday the only really obvious thing for me is to lay baby caviar in the first at Flemington, maybe for the place and take more out for less risk because it will be crazy short odds first start down the straight.

  4. Worryingly I agree with all Jock.
    Locking in Warrnambool for 2017?

  5. Tulip was probably the one to follow from tonight’s Valley meeting – though keep a watch on Siam, scratched from the first.
    Once again the “horses for courses” truism delivered with It Is Written at any-old-odds on Betfair in the last.
    Nationally it’s Bjorn Baker’s Winning Rupert getting the plaudits.
    Oh and by the way did anyone know the Perth Cup was on today (NY Eve)? Great finish.

  6. G’day Crio. Good turnout at Corowa on Friday. Hot day, huge downpour after the second sent the hoops and horses, scurrying back to the mounting yard. Twenty minutes later it was bright and hot, they jumped, it was back to normal.

    A big crowd on track for the seven race card. I noticed former Wagga apprentice China Marston presenting on Sky. She had a bad fall at Tumut back in 2014, not riding since. This looks a good option for her.

    No stand out runners, though two worth watching are Little Cyril, a first starter in the opening race, trained by P Maher, Wodonga. A big plunge on it, saw it romp to victory. Off for a spell after its first run, looks like a project horse to follow. Just a Bullet, the grey trained by Brett Cavanough at Albury ran good first up third, though carrying the grandstand. Unsure how he may go in town, but on the country tracks she looks worth following.


  7. A great piece by Dominic Beirne on benchmark handicapping –

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