Crio’s Racing

Cup weights are out, the J.J.Miller’s Guide is due in the shops and the Show is upon us…. the countdown to The Carnival can truly begin.
Traditional lead-ups are no longer the norm. The fun now is in rating various formlines and evaluating their worth for upcoming riches without neglecting the primary need to find winners this weekend. That is not as easy as it sounds as both Caulfield and Randwick host intriguing black-type littered meetings. To be honest, the talent might be spread a bit thin to support so many Quality races, but nevertheless there are some great fields that deserve our study and then, no doubt, revision.
This will be a fantastic Spring. Every season we ride a wave of expectation…for example, wonderment at how great the Cox Plate will be, followed by a reality check as “booms” retire, are injured or pursue other programmes. Ultimately, of course, new stars rise to challenge incumbents and we are left to appraise another series of terrific races.
The recent Horse of the Year Awards reinforced the consensus that last year was vintage. What a trifecta…Black Caviar, More Joyous, Atlantic Jewel (Pierro, Manighar, Mosheen unplaced!!). Black Caviar’s win was, of course, inevitable – after all, she never loses. Indications are that she could return for a final autumn campaign which would again prove a fillip for our sport. It would be fabulous to see her race again, though I won’t ever miss the patronizing annoyance of her owners who seem to somehow think themselves celebrities…even complaining at the lack of Members’ passes available! Racing owes them nothing. Something about them grates me – probably envy – but look at how millionaire Singo presents as an owner. His amazing mare More Joyous won her 20th race last Saturday. She’s arguably the best placed horse ever and doesn’t the marketing guru love it. Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup?…”Why not?” he retorts. “You gotta dream!” No retirement plans mooted. Too much fun owning winners (and it pays pretty well).
I’m not optimistic about the future for the third of that Trifecta, Atlantic Jewel, though I’m sure they’ll do all they can to get her repaired and ready to run. Her “sub” for Spring is half-sister Commanding Jewel (by Commands), unbeaten and sure to be all the rage for the first leg of the Melbourne Quaddy, the Thousand Guineas Prelude (MR6, 1400m, G3, 3yo fillies). I’m not yet on her bandwagon but neither will I back another to win. MR6 No8.
The feature race at Caulfield is the Underwood Stakes (MR7, 1800m, G1, WFA). I reckon this is between Manighar (1) and Sincero (3), to which I have a slight leaning. Southern Speed (14) must finish within a length so goes in for third.
The Naturalism (MR7, 2000m, G3) is a ballot dodger for Caulfield Cup aspirants so there’ll be some heat on here. I like Mr O’Ceiren (16), moreso if some rain arrives, scratched from Sydney for this. Give Shenzhou Steeds (3) another chance and I suppose we have to forgive Folding Gear (11) which we spruiked last start – final chance and he has 3rd up form. Some chances have drawn awkwardly so this may come down to tactics.
The Sprint (MR9, 1200m, G3) is arguably the most interesting race of the day. Mosheen had everything against her first up and was stupid odds. N.Hall now takes the mount and the “real” Mosheen (1) tows these. Soft Sand (6) is good and is the main hope if the toppy is not right.
Let’s hope that there is a good crowd at Caulfield. Unfortunately they’ve scheduled 9 races as the creep begins again – any more than 8 is misguided greed. They do, though, try to support patrons at the Heath, bankrolled as they are by a pot of gold in their Tabaret. Great initiatives for Owners have been announced this week and there is free admission for the Public – something the MRC is keen to invoke more often. The last is at 5.00 and the footy starts at 5.15…they should have made the gap a bit longer, but I’m doing the double!
Those wanting a punt earlier should look at the excellent R3, a very open 3yo event with Pronto Pronto (4) and Crystal Web (6) my value selections, and R4 in which Canali (1) will give a big sight and in which I’ll need to decide whether to trust Hot Spin(8) to jump.
The lack of a viable footy distraction on Saturday afternoon will afford punters the chance to also get stuck in to ATC’s Group One George Main Stakes Day, supported by three G2 and two G3 races!
All day there are horses to watch for the black book. Even the first is rated Group 3 (SR1, Gloaming Stakes, 1800m, 3yo) and it looks a battle between the unbeaten It’s A Dundeel (3) and J.B.’s Lunar Rise (5), both of which I prefer to the early fav and toppy Ninth Legion (1).
Once the Cup weights are released Bart’s horses generally hit their straps, even when there’s no connection to the VRC’s biggest prize. In the Tea Rose Stakes (SR4, 1500m, G2, 3yo fillies) his Norzita (6)is expected to present her claims for upcoming Classics. Dear Demi (1) and Jade Marauder (3) are the logical dangers.
Sydney’s Quaddy starts with the Bill Ritchie Handicap (SR5, 1400m, G3) in which Speediness (5) might be the one to appreciate Randwick’s space. I will certainly be watching roughie Dare To Dream (10) on replays – here’s one for the battlers: trained by “The Master” and part owned by Sir Patrick Hogan and Dato Tan Chin Nam amongst others, the well performed Brit has not been brought out here for pony rides! As the old coat tuggers used to tell me; “Be told!”.
The George Main (SR6, 1600m, G1, WFA) deserves a bigger field which would also keep the pace honest. I saw Shoot Out trial and was impressed – however I doubted he’d be served up as main fancy in a race like this. At the odds I’d rather try the grand old Rangirangdoo to score a popular win, with Nash taking a rare ride for C.Waller. All Too Hard (8) has been officially barred until he shows “something”!
Lamasery (5) will go around at a squeezy quote in the Hill Stakes (SR7, 2000m, G2) and might be worth risking. The value might be 16/1 about Lights Of Heaven (11) if we are to accept excuses proffered and trust her “potential” – is this suspending disbelief? She is really testing P.G.Moody’s renowned skills.
The last is The Shorts (SR8, 1200m, G2), always a good form race, quinellaed last year by Love Conquers All and Albert The Fat. I tend to get sucked in by its name and usually pick an out and out speedster! Everyone will be excited to see Manawanui (1) resuming and hope that he can show glimpses of last Spring’s class which earmarked him as elite. The jury is out on Rain Affair (3) so far this prep and tipping in this leg is further complicated by tricky gates and first-uppers. I’m taking the safe option of selecting the Gai/Nash runner, Nobby Snip (5) to anchor the tote’s multi.

If you are going up to Sydney for Friday night’s footy, get to Randwick Saturday.
If you are staying in Melbourne, a promised sunny arvo at Caulfield is the perfect warm up for the Hawks v Adelaide Prelim.
And if you are getting carted interstate on school holidays, check the racing calendar and take in a meeting during the break….Oges’ bucket-listed Come-by-Chance meeting, for example, is on this weekend along with a host of other picnic and provincial offerings, including the Kalgoorlie Cup.
Wherever you are, any tips or points for discussion can be directed here on this site and, of course, I’ll be swinging the bag on the Rails and promising top odds for anyone getting out to the track.
It’s time for me to get stuck in to the form guide.
Good luck!


  1. Its probably “all or nothing” for ALL TOO HARD this week in relation to Cox Plate.
    If he wins in Sydney on Saturday he will be promoted to favourite for the Cox Plate. If not, may look to focus on other targets. I think he wins.

  2. Not having Crios eloquence with words i hope this short summary of the Mindarie Halidon races will suffice
    Typical “bush meeting with end of season footy/netball trips and good Mallee folk sitting in chairs or attacking the bar and enjoying themselves – dehydration was not a problem for anyone
    The usual “bush bar” in a lean to and a pavillion where ladies were catering
    (steak sangas were a knockout Crio)
    Horses were mainly from the Bridge, Gawler with a few lesser performed ones from Adelaide
    Exteremely good ring with 5 bookies who held a lot of money with some good wagers landed on well backed horses
    (Jock- better than a mid- weeker here no doubt)
    Riders were dominated by the “ladies” (Clare Lindop had a full book) with one race having 5 of the 7 starters all female jocks
    Daryl Hewitt could manage only a third with 5 starters and Mick Whittles horses performed poorly in the Cup
    Two things worthy of a laugh
    Fashions in the field according to the “Management Committee ” and her friend was a hoot
    Pie – eyed “Princesses” in all sorts of clothes jumping around like they were at a disco and blokes doing cartwheels and handstands on the stage
    (not Flemington style)
    The only mens toilet was small so queues formed and to stop blokes going “out the back” Security guards patrolled and kept blokes in line
    All in all a great day no doubt replicated in Vic and NSW with their special days
    Crio- I would love to go to “Cumby” as the locals say but 14 hours in a car is not really worth it unless i happen to be nearby
    Budge- what do you make of Efficient on Saturday?

  3. Skip of Skipton says

    Zurella. Be told!

    Winchester is an interesting one. Four Group 1 wins in the USA.

  4. I can’t see Efficient in anywhere on the weekend. Assume next run would be in the Turnbull.

    Need to mention the retirement of Nifty Neville Wilson. One of my all-time favourite jockeys. Always loved the battler/unglamorous combination of him and Redelva – had some good wins there!
    Nifty was always happy to ride around the bush where he and P Mertens dominated for years but when he came to town he certainly showed he could mix it with the best. Have a great retirement Nifty!

  5. Skip – I know there have been an abundance of horses coming out here with European form and not that many with USA form but I can’t think of too many with USA form who have gone on with it here. Unusual Suspect and Cannonball were 2 that had strong US formlines but failed to fire a shot here (pun intended).
    Winchester has better form than those and is very lightly raced for an 8YO. In an astute stable but hasn’t raced at a distance less than 2000m for 3 years. 2400m appears to be his go. Having said that, 50/1 appears overs in a less than classic renewal of the Underwood this year.

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    Budge, I hear what you’re saying.

    Winchester has a sub-two minute 10f Gr 1 victory over Gio Ponti to his credit, which is somewhat superior to the likes of Unusual Suspect etc., or Manighar and Southern Speed for that matter.

    Is he fit and firing and still capable of that type of form? He was a Gr 1 winner last time in work. He’s a 7YO by northern hemisphire time, and as you said, lightly raced. At 50s, he has to be included.

  7. $70 and drifting…prefer others!

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    Strong mail for Emotional Circus in the Shorts.

    $70 now?!!!!……I’m getting keener by the minute.

  9. Track has to stay firm – 27 there today and it loves good and harder…it is an open race.

  10. cow shed end says

    Nice preview Crio,and lovely work by Budge to mention Nifty Nevilles retirement.
    Has ridden a couple of horses for me over the years, was down at the ‘Bool’ one day and the woman who was training the horse told Nifty the horse lays in under pressure so use the whip in the left when he does. Neville looked at her and in the world weary voice of a Jockey who’d stopped lying a generation ago said “Na i’m a spastic with the whip in the left”

  11. Love it!

  12. I see Winchester still has his faculties and is part-owned by Rosemont Stud. Already 4 time Gr1 winner and clearly looking at a stud career here its hard to see that Sadler would run him if it was likely to devalue him. Apparently ran a crap trial (for all to see) and blinkers go on. Watch for any market move at all. he is nominated for Cox Plate, Caulfield and Melb Cups – has there been a zac for him in these markets?

    I though Viila Ici (another international Gr1 winner) ran a nice race at his first go here behind Sincero. Was ridden very aggressively and battled on OK over unsuitable distance.

    IAS has Manighar $3.40 into $2.50. He’s the obvious one i suppose but lay of the day at those odds.

    Keen on Blackie in the 5th. Unlucky (yes, again) 1st up but hit the line well and extra distance suits. Looks a good race for him. Veewap is the main danger – last couple of runs have been enormous.

  13. Crio, absolutely with you 200% about the Black Caviar owners. “Tossers” is a word I’d use.

    I’m probably envious as well, but I was hoping Atlantic Jewel would come out and win 23 straight which included a couple of Cox plates, a couple of Australian Cups and some course/track records.

    Nothing against Black Caviar, just more about removing some of that smugness of the owners.

  14. Be pretty hard to own her and not be smug I reckon. Unfortunately the media love that shit and think us punters can relate so keep giving them oxygen.

  15. Skip of Skipton says

    There’s a youtube clip on Rosemont’s website where Sadler is saying Winchester wont get warm until he races beyond 2000m, and Mitho saying he’s a two-miler etc. I reckon they’re set for a big first up plunge.

  16. Budge I got the wrong horse- the one I wanted to ask about is Exceptionally R8
    (trying to do too much in too little time this morning)

  17. Budge, Just regarding your flippant “Cox Plate fav” comment for All Too Hard…isn’t it ridiculous that Pierro is so short with More Joyous next pick? There are some hardened fighters who might be too seasoned for the 3 yr old…Manighar, Rekindled Interest and co + ones like Manawanui who might reemerge.

  18. Fully agree Crio. “They” love Gai and have abandoned ALL TOO HARD but if he gets up tomorrow, all of a sudden he becomes Black’s Caviar’s champion half-brother again and the hype ramps up accordingly.

    Oges – don’t really like Exceptionally around the Heath but she is in great form. Looking for further now and prefer her at Flemington.

  19. Crio / Skip – I reckon N Wilson first came to my attention when he was on board Skipton Town in early 80s. Remember him?

  20. MR5 has had me confused. I am interested in Menados (13). Hart’s old protege has put blinkers first time and the white-hot “Maxy” Walker on.

  21. and….extremely strong mail for Mr O’Ceiren R8. Include.

  22. You could be on to something there. He’s a Zabeel with blinkers first time! Usually a successful combination.

  23. I was talking about Menados

  24. Budge/ Crio you have me reaching for my Oasis Bloom “pool” You really have me thinking now about tomorrow and selections
    Got to say selection is a bit more interesting nowdays
    By the way where is Elvis?

  25. Elvis is a long way away. Geographically he is in Groote Eylandt, spiritually could be anywhere…

  26. and if Amah Rock had gotten its head down Elvis would be in Vegas

  27. I know Shane Templeton is generally acknowledged to be the only person to have ever placed a bet on the Jockey Challenge but I’m a bit keen on G Boss (again) tomorrow. Can’t even find where you get a market. Also anyone know what the pool is normally for this (i.e. how much does ST put in)?

  28. Sportingbet

  29. Ah, of course – sponsor of TVN !!

  30. Skip of Skipton says

    Jockey Challenge bets are on the fixed odds computer at the pub.

    Three hurrahs for Zabeel who sires quality horses beyond his 20th year. That is the sign of a Great stallion and stallion-maker. You’d be taking your mare to Reset.

  31. OK – I have finally managed to put on my amber reading glasses and see where I stand on tomorrow’s races.
    Caulfield –
    -tempted to lay fav in R2 if odds on.
    -leaning to Crystal web in R3; watch on Formidable bl on.
    -R4 smelly
    -probably try Menados for reasons noted in R5
    -can’t decide what to do R6 and thus Quaddy. Not assured to go one out but no other jumping off the page
    -box 16/3/11 in R8
    -6, save 1 in the last

    -11 deserves the 3rd
    -Shoot Out declared and yet they jump from trees for All Too Hard in the George Main. Rangi E/W.
    -Lights of Heaven on trust R7
    who is pushing the Emotional circus wagon? Tough race The Shorts

  32. Coming in late and most of the available brain cells are now in an induced coma but I think I have picked up the thread.
    Personally, I don’t rate the US horses given the way they race there and that I’m never quite sure if the’ve been racing on dirt or turf so I can’t get into Winchester. I expect a significant improvement from Mawingo here, the draw makes it really interesting and although the speed isn’t that clear it may be an opportunity for a backmarker, from what I have seen I think Mawingo has a good turn of foot and it could motor hom e at the end.
    Cousin to Crio and Budge has advised that Silent Surround is “flying” (official quote) and given a good hope in the second last, never got a crack at them last time. Form guide for this tipster is normally excellent (after the event) but he is in constant contact with the trainer and says they will go back and hope to swoop.
    Others I like are Molto Bene in Race 6, it is very good and if there is pace will fly late and I’m going to have something on The Verminator in Syd which meets a few others well at WFA and is good odds.

    Good on Nifty Wilson on an incredibly good career for a rider. Actually attended Moonee Valley one day when he got Redelva up, Zabeel won the Alistair Clarke the same day ( or was that a dead heat, can’t remember).

    Finally, the reference to Elvis maybe being in Vegas from Crio brings back a few memories, Elvis winning on roulette is something to behold just don’t ever ask for an explanation of his system

  33. Elvis winning on anything would be something to behold. Very few witnesses!

  34. The quaddy dilemma at Caulfield.
    I turned to a group tonight and said , “One out Commanding Jewel”?
    “No way”, they chorised. But, “No idea” was their help when asked for a Plan B!

  35. It was circa 1985 and Dave Sawyer did get lucky on the same trip so I guess the planets were aligned. As I recall we did all crash at the Budge perch at McMahon’s Point

  36. Correct but it was 1986. Been a while since Dave got lucky too.

  37. Skip of Skipton says

    What happens on Groote Eylandt stays on Groote Eylandt.

    I have three horses in the Underwood, and the other three quaddie legs are all one out jobs. There is no Plan B, crio.

  38. Budge,

    That was a bit harsh. I’ve won before. Haven’t I ??

  39. Crio,

    I’ve got a team of researchers investigating Budge’s claims around my capacity to win, but before the release of any data, and given the benefit of the doubt, I reckon I’ve got yoor Race 6 plan B. Showmya Miss.

    Came from a long way behind the fav and winner and is looking for more ground. Great debut win and is out of a Desert King mare out of a Zabeel mare.

  40. Thanks mate. I will look in to it.
    The more I look at the fields the fewer bets I intend having… jockeys challenge!

  41. David Downer says

    Morning punners,

    Sun streams, free entry at Caulfield, party pies will be 3 for $1.99. Ready to go….

    — Race 2 3yo Hcp 1700m —
    Working around a couple here. Liked the win of HVASSTAN at Sale last start. Bullocked her way out and showed a handy turn of foot to finish it out. Bit of money has come for it already.

    The other one is the filly BALUCH. If Oaks markets were open, I’d be backing it. Still green as a billiard table, but if she puts it together has some ability. Might be more a Flemington horse and predicted slow pace an issue, but having a throw at odds today.

    — Race 4 1100m Hcp —
    Have always been a KULGRINDA fan. Carrying a good mare’s weight today perhaps the issue.

    Reckon UTAH SAINTS is probably over the odds. Has good form around better sprinters than these last Spring and goes well Caulfield (first up last Spring was second Bel Sprinter here). Can race handy and should get a good trail into it

    — Race 6 Thousand Guineas Prelude 3yof 1400m —
    Am going to avoid Commanding Jewel (though she may prove a star), but too short for mine currently, looking for some value. So have a couple here…

    The one I can entertain at about $26 is AFFABLE. Drawn a bit awkward, but will snag back. Hopefully there’s some speed on up front to assist. Looking for further, was an impressive winner in Gibson Carmichael in May.

    Moroney’s SPITFIRE LADY looked impressive at Seymour last start. Seemed to have plenty in the tank. Distance step-up wold suit you’d think, drawn to get a good run.

    — Race 7 Underwood 1800m —
    Obviously a quality, but trappy race. Manighar might just be too good despite the confusion around the speed-map, and just which of the many outside-drawn fancies will go forward. Tactics will be a major key. I will be interested in looking at perfomances from the other formlines, such as the Kiwi OCEAN PARK. He might get a nice trail as the commotion outside ensues.

    — Race 8 Naturalism 2000m —
    This is a ripper race! If ever you going wide in your Quaddies… can entertain a heap of them, and it might produce a really good one (Zurella), but maybe…

    SHENZOU STEEDS. Coming off the better formline of Southern Speed/Manighar in the Makhybe Diva and wasn’t far away in that. Fitness may have gave out in the finish. Will go forward and track a couple across in doing so

    SHEWAN is a bit of a forgotten horse. Fitter now, drawn awkward, but will be overs. SEA GALLEON another to consider, could make a case for many. Even my old mate Norsqui will be running on.

    — Race 9 Mares 1200m —
    Coming home with SOFT SAND one out! Hopefully still alive by then

    And in Sydney, maybe it’s All Too Hard’s day today

    Good luck all….


  42. Thanks DD.
    On my way to the train.
    Come and see me before R2 if you can (nudge, nudge…)

  43. DD- the track would want to suit swoopers for OCEAN PARK, SHEWAN and SOFT SAND. We will watch the pattern of racing early for a guide. Might see you out there.

  44. Great summary David D and Skip thanks for your mail as well plus Jock chiming in too.
    Glad we found you Elvis- you liven up the forum and so do your mates paying you out

  45. Elvis – don’t mind your race 6 plan B.
    What about Anise in Kulgrinda’s race? I know she is a bit of a non-winner but plenty of pace on here, well weighted (gets 4.5 kgs off Kulgrinda) and 1100m is her best distance. Also at the right odds for her and G Boss on board. Great each way bet (as long as its not a leaders track).

  46. oges,

    Thanks mate, I think. I’ve got thick skin, but Budge is starting to chafe.

  47. Plenty of winners again here (especially DD) but because I didn’t back most of them I won’t bother with a summary like last week.

  48. What about the money for Dare To Dream?
    and…what happened to Mosheen – I’ve not watched a replay but it was unloved in the betting.
    Shoot Out and Ocean Park are the big movers from today I assume.
    Menados was the unlucky one today…it wins and I have a really good outcome!

  49. Great plonk on Dare To Dream (trainer: JB Cummings; owners: Dato Tan Chin Nam and Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan) – $20 into $7. Missed the kick and didn’t recover from that.

    Mosheen – not sure will need to see the replay.

    Shoot Out. I’m a fan but not sure the quality of opposition was great once ATH missed the kick. He took a long while to run down Rangirangdoo. I know he was 1st up and will improve but will need to.

    Ocean Park was fabulous (though I did back Voila Ici….). Ocean Park raced more forward than what is his natural pattern. Showed great versatility in the run and genuine acceleration (or what they like to term “turn of foot”- what an odd saying!). He’s the real deal and wil be hard to beat in anything he’s in.

    Menandos – yes unlucky and should have run a drum but get over it. Backers of Soft Sand have much more to cry about and Monte Bene (something like that) – what a go that was!

  50. Skip of Skipton says

    Rangirangdoo is a very good honest horse. Beat him and you are doing well.
    Maybe Shoot Out, who has been a hyped horse that hasn’t delivered, is about to?

  51. Good summary Budge on yesterdays racing. What did you think of Exceptionally ?
    You were spot on with your early observations but it did finish on well
    The SA runners filled places (Classy Chloe and Molte Bene) in hard races

  52. Molto Bene was a huge run.
    Exceptionally great finish to wreck my trifecta!
    I was wrong (again) re Lamasery

  53. Great run Exceptionally. Goes to the Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes day. That will ne an ideal race for her. Start saving the pennies!

    Another top run in the Underwood was ZABEELIONAIRE.

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