Crio’s racing

“…it’s time to reacquaint yourself with hats, heels and horses when spring racing returns in style. Enjoy a glamorous day at the races in ‘Paris Lane’, the perfect destination to indulge in the latest seasons fashion in the retail village, treat yourself to delicious hospitality…” (
“It’s Sofitel Girls’ Day Out”, shout the promos. “Enjoy the fashions and fun at Flemington…”
How the marketing has changed over the years!
Fortunately what has not changed is the status of this Saturday’s Melbourne meeting – a Spring step out at HQ with excellent races and many of the horses that will feature over the coming two months.
I always loved Craiglee Stakes day, with no crowd crush but an undeniable buzz in the air. Back then a feature was the Ascot Vale Stakes when the previous season’s juveniles would present their Classic credentials. For many of us it was the end of our team’s footy season (Footscray!!) and the focus could firmly switch to the turf. Local Leagues had also finished and, rather than today’s default pubtab, blokes would descend on the track. Country footy and netball sides flirted on the lawns on end-of-season trips. And, in the era before “Internationals”, the big guns stepped out and Cup markets started to take shape.
The Spring Calendar has been rejigged (Ascot Vale is on Derby Day) but a cracking programme remains and this and the Turnbull (6/10) meeting are ones to cherish before the “Idiot Invasion” of Cup Week. Perhaps the best tip I can offer regards admission. The gate price is $25. Unfortunate…it should be free. However, if you are going to take in some of the Carnival, this is the time to purchase a General Admission Season Pass. At $200, and including all 4 days of Cup Week, this ticket for all Flemington days of 2012/13 is great value and should have been a Father’s Day spruik.
Before getting in to the fields I need to make a comment on the “Elephant in the room” – the Nikolic and associated stories doing the rounds at the moment. This is heavy stuff and not for flippant scandalmongering. I’ll paraphrase a famous ¼ time address to the struggling Alexandra footy side many moons ago to clarify my stance…..
“I’ve got only one thing to say (to youse boys), and that’s nothing!”
The focus, one hopes, needs to be on Nikolic’s glamour mount (as of Wednesday I still don’t know if he’ll ride)in the Bobbie Lewis Quality (MR7, 1200m, G3), the magnificent Mosheen. Her return is one of many of the day’s highlights. Robert Smerdon has an eye on the Cox Plate via the Epsom and, if she reproduces her 3yo form, that is not unreasonable. 59kgs, though, is a big impost with which to start a tough campaign and there are dedicated sprinters targeting this, the 3rd leg of the Quaddy. This Quality Handicap down the Straight Six is a Flemington fixture and honours one of turf’s greatest hoops ( There’s a big field but it is not top notch and many of these are not well weighted. We’re Gonna Rock will have supporters who will cite a closing last start 2nd to Black Caviar in the Goodwood as evidence enough of his credentials. Freereturn (10) is the hard, form horse scratched last week for this. Most entrants have been going around on some spongy tracks so watch for improvement if the winds create a good surface. Spirit of Boom(7), for the white hot M.Walker, might be one to include at odds. Look for him coming home “under the roses”. If Title (2) runs, throw it in.
The Melbourne Quaddy opens with one of the three G2s on offer, the Danehill Stakes (MR5, 1200m, 3yo, G2). Slipper runner-up Snitzerland (9) returned with an emphatic win in Sydney and G.A.Ryan has wasted no time in getting her down here for some of our black type. She’ll be in the red and does look bombproof. The interesting runner is Psychic Mick (2) which well and truly lived up to its Adelaide boom with an impressive Caulfield victory. Rising star trainer Daniel Clarken is not over here to get a tan. This is a Spring colt and must go in to the exotics. 9,2,then 5 or 1 for the tris.
The WFA mile is now known as the Makybe Diva (MR6, G2). It is a really hard race to evaluate. Back in “the day”, horses would come to this race via lead ups such as the Liston. Occasionally even milers took part! Now we have almost all of the runners first up. How training regimens have evolved! Littorio incredibly won last year at his first run from a spell. Most interest here will revolve around the return of key runners from last year’s Caulfield Cup. December Draw (5) was sent out as a hot fav and finished injured and last. He returns with high hopes for a campaign to match his extraordinary rise through the ranks (and under the handicapper’s radar) of 2011. The winner that day at The Heath, Southern Speed(11), strides on to Flemington with a couple of good runs under her belt and with C.Williams aboard. That’ll do me. The last time she came to HQ she came second in the Australian Cup to another of this week’s opponents, Manighar (2), which had a phenomenal Autumn rising to be undisputedly the preeminent middle distance WFA horse in Australia. He has won fresh before and must be the main danger. Mawingo(6), bolstered with “blinkers first time”, has been set by Anthony Freedman to win so must be respected. Shenzhou Steeds (9) might be the best of the “blowouts”. All runners are noms for big Stakes later so this will be a form race to review. 11,2,9.
Of course, The Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Handicap (MR8, 2000m)rounds out the day….maybe a podiatrist or an orthopaedic surgeon should co-sponsor given the ankle and foot injuries caused to girls in heels over the Carnival? If you are taking a Quaddy, best just go one out Excluded (9), a very promising stayer. He’ll be short but if you are still alive you can crush on Betfair or bet around him on other chances like Exceptionally (7) and Prizum (14).
This is a really good meeting, right from the start. I reckon the 1st (MR1, 3yo fillies, 1100m, Listed) will be a top form race. Watch unbeaten Molto Bene at about 6/1 – he is trained by Will Clarken (related to Dan of Psychic Mick fame?). MR 2+3 are both Listed races and the Let’s Elope (MR4, 1400m. G2, mares) precedes the multi legs. Watch Lady Melksham in this. She has looked a class above as she gets through the classes but is now on a bigger stage at only her 6th start. She’s only performed on the wet and will be short, yet she really does look special. This is where we’ll get to assess her true potential.
Don’t neglect the Warwick Farm replays when scribbling in to your blackbook. They are hosting a fantastic meeting with an outstanding Quaddy…love the names of these races:-
SR5 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m, G2, WFA)
SR6 Furious Stakes (1400m, G2, 3yo fillies)
SR7 Concorde Stakes (1100m, G3, set weights and penalties)
SR7 The Tramway (1400m, g3, Quality)
It is a challenging task for punters, but here goes…
1st leg – I’m a fan of Danleigh on a long straight. Big run last time. Add Secret Admirer. 1,9, maybe 8.
2nd leg – 2,7,11
3rd leg – Rain Affair (2) is very good but very short. Make a call. One out or find the value. 9?
4th leg – Rangirangdoo has 611/2!! Pretty much a Welter, but still an impost. 8 to win.3 a sneaky.
Gai’s highly rated Strawberry Boy goes around at a short quote in the first as she rallies her troops for a big Spring assault.
I’ll be grabbing the Winning Post on my way home Thursday and hoping to get stuck in to dissecting the form. By then, I hope, we’ll have a handle on the likely track rating – if, as I suspect, it is firming, there’ll be some significant improvers – look at Lady Harrods last week!
Any tips or topics welcomed.
Good luck!


  1. I am sure other racing enthusiasts will agree this is a great summary of racing this week. Well done Captain Crio.
    No one in SA really knows how good Psychic Mick is except the horse has won at every start and risen to every challenge (time and racing will tell)
    “The Management Committee” bets for our syndicate this week but as always she picks in Adelaide -otherwise Id tell her to go for one of your tips

  2. I reckon bookies might take a set against Lady Melksham (MR4). Understandable really. Up again in class, unproven on dry, drawn awkwardly ….but she is very good. Probably unders at the 9/4 quoted but bet against her at your peril.

  3. Yosei looks to be well suited in the Lady Melksham race. Very well weighted for a dual Gr1 winner.

  4. David Downer says

    Well done Crio …of course, you don’t really need the Winning Post now do you??

    I’ve just read a tweet that Owners Gold Card holders will be admitted free to Flemington on Saturday. Who said that 1% share in Eight Grand Boys would never amount to anything?? The $25 entry is rotten.


  5. DD,
    I love poring over the Winning Post even if I don’t have a bet. The “preview” is really just discussion points and observations – no hard core analysis – rather difficult in Yr 9 english classes and at cricket practice!
    No sooner have I opened the form than Tom’s alerted me to the radar and approaching maelstrom. It is the bane of doing early form – that and scratchings which alter speed maps!
    Will you be on course? We are down the very Western end of the Rails.

  6. David Downer says

    I’m half a chance, Crio.

    Leave passes must be deployed wisely in the coming weeks though!

    Will let you know

  7. Saints missing out is a bonus for you DD. I might go to MCG after the races.
    Moonee Valley next week will be excellent.

  8. If the rail is OK I reckon Freereturn is a big show in the Bobbie Lewis Quality.

  9. You have a fair bit of rain on the way, not sure if the wind will dry it all up, my backyard is about a slow 6 at the moment.
    Brilliant races on Sat but maybe too hard for me..
    Any wet conditions will sort out Were Gonna Rock, I like Speediness a bit because its good fresh and handles all conditions but most of all I think with a potentially very windy day getting some cover and running on late and wide may be the go.
    I have a bit more confidence in Sydney: Jade Marauder in the 6th had no luck last start and looks a really good E/W bet and I also like Steps in Time in the last, it got caught wide last time and should get in either outside the leader or one further back.
    Having dinner with Pat Rio on Saturday night so will need a few winners to pay the booze bill.

  10. Pouring here now Jock but won’t be a bog.
    An additional fascination to some of the races is that the Caulfield Cup weights are now released….for some it means avoid penalties but others are now chasing qualification. Thus a horse like Buxted will be desperate to improve from #100 position – it has been backed but is a “good” tracker.
    Regards to Pat

  11. Big article in the Tiser today about Molto Bene Crio the unbeaten Adelaide horse having a go at better races. But the rain and wind have again come to SA and beyond with force.

  12. Oges, windy as a winter’s day at the Western Oval here! I reckon Jock might be on the money regarding getting some cover…wonder if they’ll come down the outside in the straight races?

  13. Crio,

    Be great to get even 20% of the Flemington Quaddie tomorrow if anything I try lobs in one of the legs. I agree with Jock, in that Speediness is a great chance first up in the sprint given even a partially rain affected surface. The trainer couldn’t quite hide his enthusiasm when interviewed on radio the other day. The same could also be said for D. Moor, who all but said Southern Speed wont beat his mount.

    Still early, but a couple of others at odds that have spoken to me are Proliferate first up in the third. He”s drawn wide so will need some luck, or a hell of a finish, but does have M. Walker.

    The other one I am going to try is Single Minded in the last. Kiwi with good form when ridden first or second. If he gets to the front, look for him to be hard to run down.

    Interestingly, Midas Touch ran a half length third in last years Craiglee at 80/1 after running 12th of 13 in the Auries Star and 10th of 13 in the Memsie. This year he has run last in the same two lead ups and could improve into a place tomorrow. He ended up running into some pretty good form last year.

    First time I’ve contributed to this forum sober. Not as easy as that may sound.

  14. Elvis,
    If 2 lasts can indicate a form line then (extrpolating slightly!) we are about to strike gold on the punt. Midas touch indeed!
    The weather is doing our heads in…a bout of rain and then sunny/windy. Track must be good at the moment.
    The Bobbie Lewis is the race to find a winner. Still on Freereturn.
    And, they’ve plonked on Moor’s mount but I reckon southern speed (C.Williams) and save on Shenzhou Steeds.

  15. Elvis I dont care what state you are in as your comments give me and I am sure others food for thought – keep them coming
    Budge the “red supply ” is getting low here so will have a small go on yours in what I find is a hard day everywhere

  16. Crio,

    You’re right , the Bobbie Lewis could well be the key to finishing in front on the day. With that, I might have found one. Smokin’ Joey. showed a lot as a young horse, but reckon they erred in trying to make a stayer of him, with only a handful of starts at three following a good 2yo season culminating in a start in the Vic Darby. Goes well fresh with the exception of his most recent run in May in Qld behind Tiger Tees, where he is the main character in the stewards report that day and was found to sore over the off side rump post race when he was spelled.

    Was going to say Pago Rock might be half a chance also, but D. Hayes reduces that to an eighth of a chance. Then again, Chad Schofield can ride, so double that to a quarter chance.

  17. For you Interstaters (especially you in shorts up on Groote!), Sandown Wednesday was abandoned after 1 race and Geelong today after 5 races – on both occasions the track was very firm and the reason given was “high winds”.
    Unless it turns I reckon Iglesia’s time is safe. DEAD4 at 4pm.

  18. Crio,

    What the….

    Finally get non water logged tracks in Victoria and they’re abandoned due to wind.

    I was born there and grew up there, but I’m speechless.

  19. Throw Sound Journey at 40/1 into R3 tri 2nd up.
    Time to look for Flemington horses as many don’t handle it, esp the straight first time.
    Morgan’s will improve back at HQ and on top of the ground in R4. Not 50s pop

  20. Crio,

    50’s. She actually ran a decent race first up and is nominated for the cream. I will have something on her each way, though tomorrow might still be a bit short.

  21. Elvis,

    Thanks for giving me some clarity. My new personal policy is never to contribute sober, you’ve always been an ideas man.

    Sober or not it’s still a hard day but I’m steering clear of Southern Speed as I reckon it either goes back near last or gets caught wide so I’m one our Manighar and hoping for the best.
    What’s the story with Morgan? Is he in a manage de training? Did I see 3 names against that horse.?

  22. Jock,

    Menage de train. Magnificent. If sex involving 3 people is a threesome, and between two people is a twosome, then Morgan is handsome. Seriously, he has just taken on his Foreman as a partner. He’s had a crook knee for some time I think and is probably, and understandably looking to ease the burden a bit.

    Great to get your input Jock. Always respected your ability to find one at odds.

    I wasn’t going to include Jade Marauder in my Sydney Quad, but will now, and wear a smaller percentage. Will obviously now need to include the 5 in the final leg also. Hope I’m in front before the first leg.

    Good luck mate.


  23. Jock,
    Any plans to come over for Spring racing. I recommend Caulfield Guineas Day…as a bonus there is Moonee Valley on the Friday night and the Cranbourne Cup on the Sunday! Or come later when Elvis might grace our courses.
    As an aside, Elvis (for an old Fitzroy supporter) – some Richmond skite was talking up their progress today. An old maroon then cited that, despite their “demise”, Fitzroy have played in more finals in the last 30 yrs than the forever bullish Tiges!

  24. It can’t yet be spring and flemington…still waiting for Budge to tip Efficient!…then it is my Mister Milton turn.

  25. Crio,

    Go you Roy Boys. a win from the shallow grave.

    I agree with you about Spring, Budge and Efficient, as a consolation though, he has trotted out Yosei again.

  26. Good call.
    Hong Kong racing also resumes this week I think so no need for savings to sit idly in the bank.
    Pretty funny how Zahra takes Nikolic’s Mosheen mount.

  27. Crio,

    Yeah, didn’t Zahra have a pivotal mount in the Smokin Aces race. I thought someone might have come up with that in the press, but I didn’t see anything.

  28. Spring racing is under consideration, having a number of issues with arthritis but the combo of new drugs, a couple of drinks and maybe a winner or two may be the tonic I need to get there. I was considering the Turnbull, I think that was grand final weekend (not certain) but if the Crows make the GF getting out of Adelaide would be a bonus.

    Is anyone else (jockeys) about to get a few years, if they are then start backing them now, its amazing how many winners these guys can ride when they’re about to get outed for a year.

  29. Turnbull is the Saturday after AFL GF.
    Whilst Zahra has been charged with nothing from Smoking Aces’ race, his stable stood him down indefinitely. Doesn’t seem to bother Smerdon who has seen it all over the years…look at Winning Post this week p4 ! Great trainer and that is his only focus. His mare has a task tmrw I reckon.

  30. OK – Efficient is always a hope in any race at Flemington though never placed first up is a concern for a 9YO!
    G A Ryan’s Ahdashim is the one I will be on in the Bobby Lewis and include Temple Of Boom in the multiples.
    Exceptionally each way in the last. Found her true form late last prep and loves Flemington. No fresh form but suggest never been first up at 2000m.
    Agree Midas Touch not hopeless in the Craiglee.
    Like Snitzerland as a horse but be keen to lay at the odds on.
    Great card of racing. May Dame Fortune attend you!

  31. Some more roughies for consideration:

    Race 4 – OASIS BLOOM ($51). Smart filly meets Lady Melksham 3 kgs better for first up run over unsuitable 1200m. Step up in distance and Flemington suit. Worth a try at the odds. Quinella with YOSEI ($17) -refer earlier comment.

    Race 7 – BLACKIE ($31). First start for P Moody. Lightly raced winner of 4 from 9 starts. First up last time struck interference to run a length 2nd to Woorim (subsequent Oakleigh Plate winner) over 1200m at Moonee Valley. Incredibly tough race but he looks well weighted here and over the odds.

  32. David Downer says

    Concur with Oasis Bloom. She’s one of mine, will be having a nibble

  33. Crio- best response to your forum ever. Thanks to all contributors who have helped my cause to buy more “red”

  34. Home from junior cricket practice and off to Flemington.
    Reminds me why I wanted to live in Melbourne. Craiglee stakes today and MCG tonight.
    Looking forward to R1 – more mail than Xmas week and we’ll get to see how the track is playing.
    Good luck.

  35. by the way, racing has got some media coverage.
    Front page Sun the other day – photo of Nikolic
    Front of today’s Age – “Glamour Goddesses” promo!…fashion at the races.
    Any horses anyone?

  36. It balances out – apparently Black Caviar is on the cover of Vogue magazine.

  37. I spoke with Peter Morgan 20 mins after Oasis Bloom’s run – he was still shaking his head. He thought it was a big show. It got absolutely smashed when looking for a run. A big, gangly type, he might be suited off the squeezy fence.

  38. Don’t sack her. I agree that she needs room and am sure there will be a race for her over the Carnival.

  39. David Downer says

    Yes, a total forgive was Oasis Bloom. Poleaxed. Was not mentioned once in any post-race review, all the attention re how unlucky Hi Belle was.

    Flemington still her go, but not the inside marble.

    Stay the course lads, her day will come!

  40. DD – Check out the video of her 1st ever run at Echuca. Amazing performance to keep coming after the run she had. Plenty of toughness there.

  41. Ortensia’s Odyssey seems over…she was ridden closer at Haydock, looked terrific but sustained an injury. A fantastic campaign.

  42. Ortensia’s Odyssey seems over…she was ridden closer at Haydock, looked terrific but sustained an injury. A fantastic campaign.

  43. Ortensia is an amazing story but injury or not there has always been only one way to ride her and going forward is not it.

    Didn’t Geelong play yesterday? Not a peep on this site!!

  44. Yeah…all the warm and fuzzy has gone! Phew!

    Wish I’d backed Danleigh and Southern Speed. Though the latter was lucky, they were both terrific odds coming off great runs against opponents not quite ready.

  45. Really disappointing news that Chase The Rainbow will miss Spring……

    Another salient reminder of the folly of pre-post punting on features – naturally Rick Hore-Lacy had secured the huge odds for the Caulfield Cup.

  46. G’day Budge,

    I’ll pop my head up.

    The Cats were dreadful. Beaten by a team called Dismantle who thoroughly deserved their win.

    A purple swarm (haze).

    The Cats couldn’t take a mark out of a German bank.



  47. On firm ground, Second Effort surprised me with a eally good run. If we get wet tracks he might pick up a really good race like the Toorak?

  48. Saw Oasis Bloom get “spear tackled” Budge how do i get a look at her first race ? (any links?)
    By the way the Bays got rolled by Souths yesterday to miss out on the top 5 (North is there by default) )

  49. Just scanning the runners for Moonee Valley this week when news came through of the passing of a real good “Valley horse”, Whobegotyou.
    Here’s a tribute on the RVL site…
    His unique name was part of the charm.
    Fittingly we race at the Valley this Saturday, 12 mths since his last start 3rd there to Rekindled Interest.

    btw Oges, Orlando Bloom is running. The worry is Morgan’s horses are just not winning. A shorty went over yesterday.

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