Almanac Racing – we’re still here…

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Sandown meeting which tends to get lost after the gluttony of “Cup week”. As mentioned in past years, it is a wonderfully varied card and usually gets a good crowd but there’s always plenty of room to move about and enjoy Sandown’s undeniable asset – it is so easy to watch a race there.

Alas, work takes me elsewhere – specifically to the annual Dunkeld meeting at the foot of the Grampians. This attracts a big crowd, modest fields, appalling behaviours and is plenty of fun – though probably an hour too far away for my liking as it becomes a really long day.

At least that will give me plenty of time to have a look at the fields and, on a quick early glance, there will be good reasons to bet down Noble Park way where they host two G2 and four G3s!

The Zipping Classic (MR5, 2400m, WFA, G2) has a small but interesting make-up. Rising Romance will be the rage but I’m scarred by her seconds! Kirramosa, though not ideal at the scale, will get to silly odds.

Many other highlights deserve scrutiny – the Cup has some interesting acceptors, principally Almoonquith; Don’t Doubt Mamma, Mahuta, Dal Ciello and Patch Adams headline a ripper Guineas; Charmed Harmony’s capacity to withstand the staggers out of the dip is the key question in the Stakes; (gulp) I reckon this is the week for rightly-maligned Under The Louvre to salute in the Kevin Heffernan;…better stop there before it gets silly! Just want to emphasise that this is a meeting that is worthy of attention.

For those looking to avoid City racing but not wanting such a hike, Yea have the picnics which, in good weather, is a fantastic and highly recommended outing. I remember one year we did the picnics, went across to Alexandra for the night and then returned via the Yarra Valley wineries on the Sunday. Perfect.

On a more sombre, nostalgic note, I want to be sure here to salute the great career of Pat Eddery, who passed away this week – one of the best ever hoops, Pat was my “go to” when I lobbed in London and I stuck fat through his fantastic career. R.I.P.

Racing, unlike the fascinators and social commentators, turns up every week. Work has me out of wi-fi too often right now but I’ll be keen to tune in again Friday night and en route to the Grampians on Saturday. Come on punters. Still time to get out!

Good luck!


  1. Racing (of all sorts) is great with the Grampians as a back drop. Beautiful country. Have been to 2 Stawell Gifts and a Hamilton Cup back in my SA days. Puramaka ( a great old wet tracker – Smerdon?) won several Hamilton Cups on the trot in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Used to drop out and storm home.
    There was a Hamilton trainer (Jack Barling?) used to do well at Oakbank. Same downhill run to the turn.
    Surely the boss will shout you dinner at the Royal Mail if he has a good day? Dunkeld used to be on the bucket list for the Cup – now for the feed. JTH has family down that way from memory.
    Pat Eddery used to stand high in the irons in the English time and give them a wallop every half furlong. Great balance and timing. Good jocks rarely make top trainers (much like star footballers as coaches), Read that Pat poked around with a few after giving up the saddle. Sadly missed.

  2. There’s an excellent tribute in the Winning Post to the great Pat Eddery. Mentions all the highlights (including Dancing Brave Crio). He was one of the 2 loved Pats when I was over there (Chelsea’s Pat Nevin the other) and was definitely the rider you wanted your money on. RIP to a true champion of the turf.

  3. David Buik has also written tributes to the late Pat Eddery, yesterday & today.

    To read, google David Buik & go to his website at word press.

  4. Wish I was making the trip with you Crio, just about my favourite meeting, most stunning backdrop in racing.
    the boss will need to have a couple of full bags to shout you at the Royal Mail, might have to settle for a cold can in the Tauto ‘bar’ ( lean to) on course

  5. Budge, was Dancing Brave in those wonderful Lime, pink sash, white sleeves?
    Maybe growing up next to the “Pat” has subliminally impacted on your affections?

  6. Cowshedend – we stop at the Courthouse in Smythesdale for a feed. It’ll be late – the last is 5.36pm!
    Still awaiting your report from KL races.
    Try to get to the book launch for an hour next Thursday.

  7. I’m interested In Dandino @ Sandown. He ran well last start, has a good rider in D Dunn. I’ll check the weather/track in the morning but he’s my early tip in the Zipping.

    Two big days of racing at Gundagai, including the Snake Gully Cup today. I’ve not been to the track but it’s an option for the future.

    One track i have been to is Yea. Tomorrow is the first race there for this picnic season so i’m looking forward to us getting there.

    Happy Punting,


  8. Budge, the Dancing Brave footage is amazing, his last furlong must have been blistering.
    Crio, Penang’s a beautiful track, happened to have the Moonee Valley race club stakes on the day I was there.
    Good numbers on course, the only women were working on the gates or in the tote, demographic was desperate middle age men, all on the urge…. so very different from the average non-carnival crowd at tracks around this fair brown land!…..Yep!!!!!
    Very disappointed it didn’t have the sophistication of the Melbourne Spring, no birds pushing coppers into shrubs, no marquees blocking the view, no home and away ‘stars’ telling everyone how good the cocktails are in the Lavazza tent, no middle aged women stripping down to their knickers to run down the sodden lawn, no pissed private schoolboys laying in there own filth in the Caulfield members car park, just horses punters and beer…. so terribly sad and unsophisticated.

  9. Sandown
    R3 Java looks the value @$18+ proven at the track, WFA the query
    R6 Malice best bet of the day. He won in Syd this meeting last year. Plenty of speed in this race, will settle midfield and come over the top of them
    R9 Scarlet Billows flying!

  10. fav in first at Perth

  11. Well I finished work @ 08-30 this morning, got back to the house to check how my bets went. I looked at the RISA site to check how my two tips from the Riverina went. I was happy and made some $$. Race 4 at the Valley the Berrigan horse It’s Poets Day won, with its Jerilderie counterpart Sweet Emily finishing second. Being at work I didn’t have the joy of watching a Riverina Quinells, but I will pop over the TAB soon for my collect. After that it’s off to Yea!


  12. Crio..Fav in Perth ..a bit left field for you?
    R3 Smokin Joey
    R4 Hosting EW
    R7 Del Cielo
    R9 Shes Clean..looks well in at weights
    R3 Pepper the Pin
    R6 Lucky Symbol
    R7 It and a Bit EW..big odds

  13. We had a nice day @ Yea. it’s al lovely track, with the mountains behind it. R Goodwin took the riding honours on the day, with a treble. He rode winners of the first three races, including winners for horse trained by his father, Barry, r in races 2 and 3.

    Amongst the madness, merriment and mirth of two bucks turns and a 40th birthday it was a lovely day to be in Yea, It’s easy to see why Yea won the picnic race track of the year for 2014-15..


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