Crio’s Question: Which is the horse that holds a special place in your heart?

About ten years ago we were down at the old Flemington stalls on raceday looking at the horses, particularly (very) young Tom’s favourite, Sky Heights. To his shock and the amusement of on-lookers (including Trevor McKee tending to Sunline next door), Colin Alderson grabbed Tom from my arms and sat him atop the giant champ! No wonder he is still Tom’s favourite horse.

I was lucky enough to be at the Valley for the famous “Kingston Town can’t win” day and hence his place in my affections was ensured.

We all have favourites for various reasons and it is at this time of the year, when Racing takes its turn on Sport’s centre-stage, that we debate their various merits.


  1. Crio – Dandaleith holds a special place in my heart. Was beaten by Arwon in the 1978 Melb Cup after putting up a brave effort. I followed its form for months in the lead up through the pages of the Herald newspaper. What a beautiful horse. I was only 14 at the time and put $5 on it to win – cleaned out my money box. That’s when I learned the dangers of the punt.

  2. Peter Flynn says

    Spring ’09 is better than spring ’08.

    For financial reasons, I’ll highlight the following nags:

    Planet Ruler
    Super Impose (at Randwick)
    Makybe Diva
    All Silent

    Western Light (pacer at a NZ Inter Dom a few years ago)

  3. Has to be Tawriffic for me. Backed him at big odds in ’89. Paid for the fridge I’d bought that day!

  4. Peter Flynn says


    The owners of Tawriffic had the car park site next to us at Flemington that year.

    They came back with the Cup and I was lucky enough to cop a hold of it.

    Closest I’ll get to it.

  5. Where do I start?

    Saintette – paid for car seat covers 30 years ago
    Lockley’s Tradition – won at MV same day I bought a TV, good down payment
    So Called
    Kingston Town (no financial attachment – just a freak to see)
    Light Fantastic (affection is in the process of being re-evaluated)

  6. Budge,
    I like the one’s who’ve stood up repeatedly for you…none spring to mind for me sadly, but what about Redelva for you?

  7. How could I forget – Bru winning the Melb Cup in 2000. I still dine out on that one. Backed it at about 20s I think. Magnificent.

    Shamoline Warrior will become a favourite if it wins the Derby.

  8. Steve Healy says

    Predatory Pricer- great colours- great horse. It was a shame his run in the Caulfield cup was a shocker.

  9. mick geary says


    Makybe Diva’s still my favourite (close up second is Northerly for his G&D).

    So many races but three stand out for me with Makybe Diva.

    1.2005 BMW – the best win of her career, coming from last with no hope to run down Gai’s Grand Armee. You can hear the disbelief in the race caller’s voice as MD runs passed GM. Freeza and I were at a wedding in the bush that day and taped the race. We arrived back at our accommodation about 2am completely legless and not knowing the result. Our endeavours to watch the race were not welcomed by our respective erindoors.

    2. 2005 Tenno Sho in Japan – not because she won, she didn’t, but because when she failed my then three-year-old son William burst into tears (possibly because it was the first time he’d seen her lose). I had to walk out of the West Preston tote for fear I’d be reported to authorities. William still has two pics of her in his room.

    3. 2005 Cox Plate – four years ago today in fact, just for the relief that she won.

    and of course the three cups….

  10. Guys,
    I have already told my kids many times about the great Kingston Town. It is so true the old adage that great horses have great names. Fellow almanacker Dene Macleod had some t-shirts made up a few years ago with jockeys silks on the front and Kingston Town on the back. I only wear it every spring in honour of KT (and am proud that i still fit into it!!)

  11. My son says “Gurner’s Lane” just to goad me. Still hurts.
    The emotional let down from the Valley to Flemington was awful, perhaps exceeded only by the tragedy of Dulcify.

  12. Peter Flynn says

    Enjoyed the show last night.
    Really good interviews.
    Well done mate.

  13. Thanks Peter,
    I’ve never backed Alcopop but it is already the sort of horse which I’ll follow with enthusiasm. So much more character than ones like Shocking!

  14. VOEY

  15. Mark Freeman says

    Yes the 2005 BMW was her best win in terms of sticking it up ’em.

    Sydney caller Ian Craig:

    (smugly) “And Grand Armee kicks three lengths clear at the 200m” (tone: Gai’s wfa star is far too good for a dour handicapper)

    (matter-of-factly): “Makybe Diva now running on down the outside…”

    (some urgency): “Grand Armee clear, but here comes Makybe Diva…”

    (some pain): “Makybe Diva ranges up to Grand Armee….”

    (astonishment): “And she races away to win the BMW….”

    To their credit, the Rosehill crowd did give her a rousing reception on returning to scale.

    Faves? I’ve had a few:

    Van Der Hum (first winning bet, mud, 76 Cup
    Scamanda (great sprinter)
    Denebola (big finish)
    Go Flash Go and Zabuan (big quaddie win)
    The Great Mare of course
    Hot Danish and All Silent (had em one out for nice slice of last year’s Derby Day quaddie, pulling me out of spring punting hole)
    Hissing Sid (if he wins tomorrow!)

  16. Mark Freeman says

    How could I forget Southern Crown ($92 on the tote for the Bagot 2004 and just kept winning)

    And mighty Patezza! (Magnificent Doncaster win in 2005)

  17. Makybe,
    You’re just listing the winners you have backed ( and are probably nearly done with it!).
    Is there no sentiment for its own sake?

  18. Mark Freeman says

    Fair question Crio. In the end for me I do have to have had a win on one for them to be a favourite.

    Once I get onto one that I think’s a goer, I follow it’s career, try to work out when it’s suited and launch on it, and if it repays the faith, a punter/horse bond is formed.

    I can appreciate Doriemus’s cups double effort, but just like Carlton’s flags, they don’t do anything for me.

    Best example is Might and Power. Standing on the lawn at the Heath after the 97 Caulfield Cup, I had to inspect the racebook to work out who that was that just won by 7 lengths. Then I was impressed with the Melbourne Cup win, but it was only when I stumped up for him in the 98 Cox Plate that I really liked him.

  19. Yes Crio, I forgot Redelva. I did declare Australia Day as International Redelva Day the morning BEFORE he won whatever they called the main sprint back then (Australia Stakes?). Great horse who won quality races from 2YO to 8YO.

    La Zagaletta – like a good grey
    Nearest was a good won for a big finish at Sandown
    Stainvita until he hit the pothole at Sandown was the best mud-runner I’Ve seen

    Love some of yours Freezer – Scamanda! I reckon he won a couple of Linlithgows if I recall correctly. Your dad must have told you about him!
    I don’t see All American in the list any more.

  20. True Freeza, it’s the long term that forms the bond. As disappointing as the results proved, our bond with the late W’bool trainer Francis O’Rourke’s mare Fullta can never be questioned. We backed her every chance we had – even to the point where we were taking her one-out for fourth in a field-field-field-fullta first four just to get a collect (and then, as she did in the 2008 Wangoom, she finished 5th). She holds a special place in my heart, if only for the anguish she caused.

  21. Mark Freeman says

    Ahh the Shogun Lodge bet – fields for the holes and one out for fourth, perfectly suited to Fullta.

    And Budge, am flattered that you think I’m a young fella! But Scamanda I had 2 bucks on in the sprint on Thousand Guineas Day 1977. He won, making the effort of drinking salt to chunder in the kitchen sink to show mum I was crook in order to wag school and sneak off to the track was all worthwhile!

    And Stainvita – I was there. My best punting lesson ever. Had my last $5 on him (only took $10 to the races at tender age of 14), didn’t even have a train ticket home cos he was such a complete certainty. Five lengths in front at the 200m, then bang, gone, dead. Learned me real good, as they say.

  22. Tasmanian Perspective.

    Halwes – Great Pacer (But didn’t ever win the Inter Dominion

    Beer Street – Great Name

    Piping Lane – Great horse

    Reason: down here on da island we win lots of troca shells on dem nags.

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