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Almanac Racing – Winter Championships

As the winter season of racing heats up, Flemington this Saturday hosts the Winter Championships meeting. Each of the nine races is a final of a particular series that has been conducted over the last few months, making for a competitive day of racing.


A consequence of the series structure is that the horses targeted for a final will often race against each other in the races considered as qualification. This is the case for a couple of the finals this Saturday, which for me takes away some of the interest and intrigue that comes with comparing different form lines.


The first race (Rivette Final) is over a mile for three-year-old fillies. Ruby Sea has opened at around $3 after pulling off two impressive wins to begin this preparation. It looks the winner, so Alma’s Rossa and Hussy’s Glow might be two to throw in for exotics.


Extra Zero returns to its favourite track to contest the second race (Country Cup Final), and is not without a chance. Its last start at Flemington was a memorable win in its 100th start and was freshened for a run at Moonee Valley where he ran a close fourth in a similar class. For sentimental reasons I’ll be cheering him on, but I can see myself backing Killarney Kid. It won this race last year during an incredible winter campaign that included seven wins, and his record over 2000m is astounding (11-8-0-1).


The fourth race is the Taj Rossi Final for two-year-olds over a mile. Royal Symphony has opened at the eye-watering odds of $1.40 for his third start, but for good reasons; he has won both career starts by more than three lengths in arrogant fashion. He could be a star in the making.


The fifth race (Creswick Final) screams of deja vu, with horses like Overstep, Ken’s Dream, Invincible Al and Liberty Song all competing against each other once again. Those four are prominent in the market and hard to separate, so perhaps I might box them up in a trifecta in the hope of a fitting final.


The first leg of the quaddie is the stayers’ final, over 2600m. Charlevoix will start favourite, but I think there might be some value in this race. Bullish Stock flew home here last start to finish third behind Charlevoix and has more improvement to come, thus representing value at around $10.


The seventh race (Winter Championship Final) is the feature over a mile at Listed level. It will be a competitive betting race too, with several horses rated between a $6 and $12 chance at time of writing. Tshahitsi’s form of a month ago would have it favourite for this race, but it was slightly disappointing last start. It’s hard to give anything a big push, but the reigning Hobart Cup winner, Count da Vinci, will walk off the Spirit of Tasmania with a live chance at odds of around $18.


The eighth is the Sprint Final where Ability will jump as a hot favourite after a classy pair of wins to start life as a gelding. Husson Eagle is the main danger.


The last (Silver Bowl Series Final) is for three-year-olds over 1600m. There’s a few contesting favouritism, but I like Snipfit and First Approach as value prospects.


Last week I mentioned that racing had endured a difficult few days, with the death of a trackwork jockey and the Michelle Payne investigation. This week has been more positive after Australian jockey Blake Shinn rode a treble at Arlington in the United States. He travelled to the US nearly a month ago to gain experience in a different environment, and on Tuesday news filtered through that he had ridden three winners at Arlington’s Monday meeting.


Good luck if you’re having a bet this weekend!

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.


  1. Also RIP Roger Booth. The archetypal battler and apparently all round good bloke.

  2. Yeah. Terrible about R.Booth at only mid50s.
    I went to HQ yesterday. Just a winter date but a couple of standouts. Royal Symphony and Ability will figure in Spring.

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