Crio’s Racing

“Going to the races”, perhaps more so than ever before, is now an umbrella term for an assortment of possibilities. Look at some of this weekend’s offerings for example…

Friday is the final Valley Nights for the season and the meeting has been swamped by a media blitz surrounding Black Caviar’s “appearance” (MVR8, 9.55pm and live on Ch7, G1, 1200m) – it is more like a Madonna concert than a William Reid Stakes and I expect the demography will reflect that. Given the paucity of attendees to the night series, let’s hope the MVRC puts on a great show for the bumper crowd and that at least some of the patrons will, as a by-product, return for another taste of racing in the future.

Other than “her” Royal Parade, there are a couple of races of note. The last of the 955m scurries (MVR5, 7.45pm) will be red hot. I assume they’ll manufacture a front runners’ track but even that might challenge the gut busters who’ll set a hectic tempo here. If Kulgrinda gets across for a sit he could be the one.  The best contest of the night is the Sunline Stakes (MVR6, 8.20pm, G2, 1600m, mares). These girls are maybe half a notch off the best but good earners and top prospective breeders. Maybe 3,1,6.

We should cherish the attention while it lasts because, as of Sat’dy arvo, it is back off-Broadway for the Melbourne metro fixtures. Robust prizemoney will ensure competitive fields for a while but there’ll be little spark for those venturing to the track. (oges – “The Impaler” and Smiling Stevie should be in the market for Shane’s Jockey Challenge!)

Caulfield MR Quaddy considerations for habitués :-

MR5- 6,10, + take your pick

MR6- good race. Try 1,5,4. I want to back Speediness – why the 20/1 first up?

MR7- maybe 10, E/W 12, big query 5.

MR8- 2 and 3.

The real focus on Saturday must be on Rosehill where the Sydney Carnival hits top gear with a fantastic meeting – crowds failed to materialize for the excellent Warwick Farm “preludes” so it is now or never for the Autumn showcasing of clockwise classics. On a wonderful card there is a standout race – The Canterbury Stakes or, more specifically, the unexpected clash of Gai’s champions More Joyous and Pierro (SR8, G1, 1300m, WFA) – they are far from good things for the Quinella either, with Moment of Change the best credentialed of a host of genuine G1 challengers. Can’t wait.

The ATC card is littered with highlights so I’ll mention a few and expect comments on those and others.

The 2yr olds have their gender specific lead ups in Group 2 affairs over the Slipper course. The fillies’ division (SR2) is called the Moet and Chandon – is this the old Riesling Trial? Here we get to see two of the booms meet again – Villa Verde (1) landed an old fashioned plonk on debut at Caulfield and both it and the runner up, Overreach (2), have improved towards their April goal. This will be a fascinating battle but a 6 horse race is hardly match practice for the capacity skelter in a few weeks’ time. 1 from 2 again, though bookies have it clearly the other way around.

The boys meet in the Todman Stakes (MR4).They are not considered as strong a batch as the girls but, amongst an even field, G.A.Ryan’s Charlie Boy (5) is expected to stand up for Slipper promotion. 7 and 1 for minors.

A duo of Group Ones precede the Canterbury Stakes, kickstarting the NSW Quaddy which, disappointingly, closes with a modest Handicap.

The Ranvet Stakes (SR6, G1, 2000m, WFA) presents another opportunity for this 3yr old crop to show its superiority as VRC Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar (13) holds favouritism over perennial topline performer Silent Achiever (12), which is ridden by “hot” hoop James McDonald. For Manighar, Mawingo and others of the “older brigade” it is time to show a bit of form.

The Coolmore Classic (SR7, G1, 1500m, fillies and mares) is the “Myer” of the Sydney Carnival – a cracking collection of females over, in this case, a trip that tempts both dashers and potential stayers. As usual it is a really good, wide race. Box up Norzita (5), Dear Demi (6) and Flying Snitzel (11) – and be prepared to not land a placegetter!

There’s also the G2 Phar Lap and a Listed 3yo race amongst the “support” card – clearly one of the best days of the season. The ATC are pushing it as Ladies’ Day and they must be praying for a positive response from the fickle Sydney public.

Picnic crowds are more reliable, though the weather can, of course, impact on the day’s enjoyment. Regular contributor Glen is amongst a posse heading up Wagga way for the Ardlethan picnics

Get a start with R1 No4 – trial form against Dame Claire!  Then tackle the bookies with in with Bayonet Charge in the Cup – another success for Bel Esprit’s stock!

Amongst a swag of alternatives – the Streaky Bay Cup(home of the McEvoys) on the cusp of the Bite, Cloncurry (Qld) in the Gulf Country, Pingrup (WA) south of Albany ,Canberra, Darwin, Casino etc. – I want to mention the QuarterHorse Cup races and festivities to be held in Birchip (VIC) on Saturday ( It is a unique form of racing and the community presents a full programme, culminating in the “Catch the Sun” evening music festival. It comes highly recommended and some tickets may still be available.

So, as usual, there’s a fantastic mix of options for those wanting to enjoy a racing fix… whether an “event” under the lights, a Classic Day at Rosehill or the plethora of alternatives calendared.

I’m looking forward to reading some tips and reviews on site. I also want to know which, if only given the choice of one, you’d like to attend – Moonee Valley Friday or Rosehill on Saturday?  …both exciting options.

It promises to be a weekend to remember. Good luck!


  1. Crio,

    From a Caulfield Quaddie perspective, I saw Later Gator win at Cranbourne last start and she was very impressive. The sprint is way open to a result. Speediness is a chance, as is Gybe, now with the once lost D Hayes camp. Goes well fresh and is by that great sire “You Guessed It”

    One hurdle at a time though. I’ve got one of those “Gut Feelers” at the Valley on Friday night. Fill The page in the Sunline (R6) I can see her in the first couple, heading them, and holding on.

    Sydeney. I was bullish about Silent Achiever the other week, and nothing has altered. Budge’s reservations about “The Farm” proved correct. She will take a massive amount of holding out in a pretty good race. That import of Dick Van Dyke’s went pretty well first up too. Prince Cheri (named after the legendary transvestite Prince of Monte Carlo?) Goes all right.

    I will also be backing Force Command in the Phar Lap. On a seven day back up, but fights hard to the line, and has drawn a barrier as a novelty.

  2. Crio,

    No brainer, given the option I’d be at Rosehill…it’s the best days racing anywhere this week.
    What’s even better is that I see a couple at odds I like that I think have good chances.
    Indianapolis in the 5th ( already had the entree at 17.5 on Betfair), goes very well 2nd up, blinkers back on.
    I also like Raceway a bit in the last, it should be back on a dry track where it’s best form is, also has winkers back with blinkers off and is 2 wins from 5 on the good ( even though it may be dead on Sat.)and the other 3 runs were all won by Pierro so it has a big drop in standard.

    A quick look at the Valley on Friday and I reckon Alzora is a spec in the 5th with a big drop in standard, I think the next best in that race is Kazanluck and I think it will need the run. I like Canali in the 955 and Lights of Heaven should be retired if it can’t win.Big Watch on Triple Tee in the 2nd last ex M Minervini, now Smerdon and always went ok. It will be an easy one for BC but I’m really keen of Fawkner for 2nd so if I’m really desperate for a bet ( and I normally am) I’ll have a go at the trifecta with Luckygray to run 3rd.

    With a bit of luck I’ll be able to afford to take a few good reds up to Oakbank next week to enjoy with the BBQ.

  3. Elvis,
    must say I fancy Force Command also.
    skipping Oakbank this year – stuck at Caulfield despite pledging to do Randwick or Stawell.
    They will fly in the 955m race at the Valley.

  4. the dogs are barking “speediness”

  5. Hope that’s right Jock as I had a little spec on speediness this morning.
    Anyone got an opinion on Norzita?

  6. Norzita is half the odds it should be, I’d prefer to try Bennetta at 8’s than Nortzita at 9/2. Zurella may be value as it’s form when freshened is fantastic just questionable if it’s good enough

  7. OK. I’ll take that on board.
    Since you are bullish, what about Gai’s pair in the Canterbury Stakes?

  8. I’ll stay out of that, they can get beaten..Moment of Change isn’t hopeless

  9. Is Solzhenitsyn a blow out?

  10. Jock,

    You’re right about Zurella. Dropped off last prep after a good first up win. Very classy I think, and as a Zabeel, might be getting better with maturity. Grand dam is a Last Tycoon half to Lonhro. Rough bred.

  11. Elvis,
    My brother is a genius
    Yours has got coin
    and Jock’s is Kev…… – be wary!

  12. It’s OK… Like Elvis, Kev looks like he’s got 20 to life in the top end.

  13. David Downer says

    A ripper weekend ahead.

    On all weights, times and measures, Lights of Heaven must be a good thing in the Sunline Mares race. Equal weights with her fellow “sista’s”, and her ratings gap the others.

    A closer look at times cements this further. The main lead-up to this race was the Mannerism at Caulfield on Feb 23 over 1400m. Six of tomorrow’s runners – including the first three, Star of Giselle, Family Crest, Hi Belle, and also Spirit Song ran in this.

    Lights of Heaven ran on the same day, at the same distance, in the TH WFA Orr Stakes vs All Too Hard. Lights of Heaven actually finished last, but her time, in approximate conversion to lengths, was still over 3 LENGTHS BETTER than the winner of the Mannerism, Star of Giselle.

    Now most of the others have had an additional run since then, but you’d think LOH will take further improvement, and its been a long time since she’s gone around in a mares only.

    If you can find a price, get orn!

  14. Think Star Of Giselle may be scratched also

  15. Skip of Skipton says

    Arnold rode Norzita a bit cute. He thought once he got her past Hayes’ horse he had the race. Wasn’t expecting Flying Snitzel to go whoosh!

  16. Great to see the posts liven up early which gives me hope for the tips and some thought provoking ideas for the weekend – Form later
    Wont be going to Oakbank again so will wait to hear Jocks version of a great carnival- family holiday at Coleraine but may sneak a day at the Stawell Gift if lucky
    Elvis- how come youre alive on a Thursday pm and not Friday? And where is Budge?

  17. Skip, I’m with you on Norzita.
    Oges, I think Budge – like the Tote on Cup Days – has had a computer crash.

  18. Crio- that will save us all 50 questions?
    Interesting rider change in the last at Caufield- Duric is off Petite Diablesse (fav) and is riding Anthony Cummings 33-1 pop

  19. If Norzita is a chance, then Longford must be some hope. Hasn’t been much between them when they’ve met but now they are split at the weights and a long way apart in the market.

  20. Crio,

    I get to go home early today as the office I work in has been cursed. Hope it doesn’t affect the punt.

  21. In position at the Valley.
    Slightly over the salmon decorations!

  22. Does Matt Stewart have a set against the Black Caviar camp, or is it my imagination?

  23. What happened?

  24. Just seems a little negative somtimes, that’s all.

  25. David Downer says

    Glorified track gallop it may have been, but was a sensational atmosphere at the Valley last night. Dragged me away from the All Nations completely, so that was a fair indication of my expectations!

    The bookies were perhaps the only one’s grumbling – sticking around an extra hour for the last, in a race with no betting activity! Scarper off, Crio?

    Last night will absolutely be the pre-cursor to a night Cox Plate. Big crowd atmosphere under the lights adds another dynamic to the unique nature of the Valley. The joint was buzzing. It might also be the making of Australian night racing in general, and give it a kick along next season.

    With Channel 9 out of racing, and if Seven whacks its coverage on 7-Two, maybe a night WSCP will even happen this year?

  26. Great atmosphere last night at the Valley.
    Agree with all of DD’s comments above. Even the hour between 2nd last and the last seemed to only build the anticipation in the crowd and credit to MV for having plenty of bars open, additional food outlets, the extra seating area, separate kids entertainment area, etc – plus the BC confetti.

  27. Skip of Skipton says

    Black Caviar, More Joyous, All Too Hard and Pierro in the All Aged, PLEASE! The stars don’t align like this too often.

  28. Good to hear all enjoyed the Valley.

    I have a “but” though. The race itself was no more than a track gallop and from a racing perspective is almost a waste. The stablemate leads at 3/4 pace, BC sits outside and sprints home the last 300…that’s not really a horse race. Hopefully everyone turns up for the All Aged and we get a horse race.

    Maybe I’m still getting over the end of a stellar punting run that lasted 9 weeks and can’t see the bright side too clearly

  29. Jock,
    There will always be a “but” when BC races. They know they are racing for 2nd prizemoney (which is reasonably good) and Karuta Queen achieved that.
    Don;t hold your breath re the All Aged. If BC decided to run, they would all scarper off looking at other targets.

  30. Skip of Skipton says

    Would they, Budge? Let’s face it, she needs to stamp her greatness by defeating the likes of Pierro, More Joyous and her half-brother, All Too Hard. Otherwise it is just a big wankfest and circus in the TJ Smith with confetti and salmon coloured popcorn.

  31. Sounds like a great night at the Valley- thanks DD for your special e/w (only collect all night )

  32. Skip – sounds like you’ve carried your rage across from the political posting!
    BC doesn’t need to beat anyone now to confirm her greatness. If, and its a huge if, any of them manage to beat her it would just ramp up their own standing.
    Prepare yourself for a wankfest but whatever happens from here she has been the best thing for racing in decades.

  33. Skip of Skipton says

    What’s wrong with wanting to see BC racing Pierro, More Joyous and All Too Hard in the All-Aged? The ATC should be doing everything they can to make it happen.

  34. Great racing at Rosehill – we all knew that the Coolmore was “Autumn’s Myer” but failed to join the dots and find the good odds winner!
    Norzita was brave.
    Solzhenitsyn good.

    Friday night was interesting. Good to see so many people enjoying themselves – at least up until the drama of getting out of the course. Having the feature last means transport chaos and, if it were a night Cox Plate, I suspect the police and security would protest. Folks at Caulfield yesterday thought Friday was over-the-top with too long a build up, too little focus on racing (did they really parade the owners?) and, of course, 2 songs by Darryl Braithwaite.
    This ponytail and pyrotechnics approach is the “Meatloaf Mechanism”! I don’t like it but there were 20,000 more there on Friday than at the Heath yesterday.

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