Crio’s Racing: 1982 and finding a winner in the now

30 years. It is a fair slab of a lifetime. It can offer perspective. It can also lead to romanticizing.
1982 seems long ago. The champs of that time seem somehow more imposing.
Etched in my (more impressionable) memory.
Look at the Grand Final – Helen D’Amico and Bruce Doull!
On the racecourse the mighty Kingston Town ruled the roost – with a quality support cast.
The Kingston Town Classic (1800m, G1) at Ascot on Saturday commemorates the last run of T.J.’s champ when he carried his gammy legs to beat Getting Closer in the (then) Western Mail Classic
Both horses had cemented a place in Australian racetrack history during 1982. Getting Closer retired with an excellent record (prior to the Classic he was a close second to Magari in the George Adams) but a maiden win earlier that year will forever be his legacy – when Mark Read and Henry Davis orchestrated one of the biggest plunges of the century. 200/1 was bet and the flucs were 100/1 in to 5/2. Miracle Mal, the hoop so often linked with The King, piloted him around Canterbury on an afternoon that causes cold sweats for fielders and fertile fodder for Sportsmen’s nights.
I’ve been unable to unearth much detail of Getting Closer’s overall record, but it takes a real good ‘un to finish behind Magari – a top class G1 horse which put Nick Columb on the map – and Kingston Town in 1982.
No such trouble tracing the well documented career of Australia’s best horse. The story goes that a trip West had been promised by connections but with recurrent injuries it seemed doomed until Tommy Smith declared for the WFA race which has since traded under various titles (loved it as the Fruit’n’Veg). In his only race after the famous “can’t win” Cox Plate, a gallant champ was posted wide but was too good. Despite many attempts – including USA – he never raced again….watch “The King and The Man”.
Whilst Kingston Town’s 1982 achievement of a third successive Cox Plate stands alone, Playing God (3) chases his own historic 3rd straight win in the Classic (Ascot, R8) having won at bolter’s odds last year as well as a 2010 triumph. This year he is one of the fancied runners, although punters will again forgive Luckygray (2) and send him around @ 6/4. For those W.Pike devotees, he’s on 7/1 pop Ranger (7), whilst others might be interested in the filly Fuddle Dee Duddle (16) to be ridden by Glenn Boss for Lindsey Smith – best remembered over here for his association with the ill-fated Derby winner Plastered (out of Tipples). Race runs at 8.15pm Eastern.
By then I’ll be back from another day at Caulfield. Hopefully the Quaddy will have included:
MR5- 1100m. 10,6,9
MR6- Doveton Stakes. 1100m. 2,4,8. Risking 3.
MR7- 1600m. some “munchers” here. 9,10,1,6.
MR8- 1200m. 3,11,10.

The real racing action, of course, is at Shatin, Hong Kong – a bucket list for any Aussie racelover. The recommended itinerary is to do the Happy Valley night on Wednesday and then the Internationally renowned feature day on Sunday with its 10 races of which four are at Group One.
R4- HK Vase 2400m (5pm Melb).
Dunaden etc. Value, of course, is always in those less known to pubtabbers. Sea Moon’s right odds are 4/1ish. Dunaden 5/2 and Red Cadeaux 12/1 – might be “over the top”? Meandre also fancied.
R5- HK Sprint 1200m. (5.40pm)
Sea Siren is 9/4 and Lucky Nine next. Little Bridge is usually a blowout hope at 16/1.
R7- HK Mile 1600m. (6.50pm)
Very open. Ambitious Dragon and Glorious Days lead most British markets.
R8- HK Cup 2000m. (7.30pm)
Cirrus Des Aigles (mentioned in other posts) deserves one of these, but the quoted 5/4 is skinny. Alcopop is 12/1 everywhere O/S so don’t fall in to the local tote. Carlton House, Stoute’s former Derby fancy now enroute to Gai Waterhouse, is 16/1. Will have a look at this race – maybe Giofra might give overs?
30 years! How I wish Kingston Town and Manikato could have shown their wares at ShaTin back in 1982. Would have been there in a heartbeat. But Sunday racing, International shuttling, TVN/SKY coverage, Betfair and the like were sci-fi. I like to reckon that our old geldings would have put their hoofprint on world racing if given the chance.
But maybe I’m just an old dreamer… stuck in my 30 year timewarp?
I’ll escape it long enough to embrace the fantastic coverage that comes with Hong Kong’s races. Heaps for viewers to enjoy, and plenty of local flavor with Aussie jockeys, trainers and commentators prominent – and maybe even a winner from Down Under to ice the cake?
Sportslovers are learning that Sunday is the big ‘un nowadays. Settle in for the Hong Kong races and then wait up for the Manchester Derby!
Unheard of in 1982! Times aren’t necessarily worse.
Good luck if you are having a try.


  1. Just finished watching The King And The Man again on TVN. I own the DVD and don’t watch it but can’t resist if it comes on TV.
    Just so glad we were there that famous day 30 years ago at the Valley.

  2. Skip of Skipton says

    Mr Moet must be a fair beast, crio. I hope they ship him east for the autumn.

    Is Cirrus Des Aigles still 5/4? As much as I love Alcopop; Get On!

  3. Crio, as a youngster a horse i followed a lot in 1982, and 1981, 1983,etc was the Honeychurch trained galloper from Berrigan, Allez Bijou. I’ve never managed to find his career records in my travels on the web. Won a few group races, a couple of good provincial cups, Geelong and Wagga, (do you call Geelong provincial?) but would like to find his career record. Do you know of a web site having these details?


  4. Glen,
    I reckon Budge may have backed her when she won the Hotham.

  5. He won a few good races Crio , including the Dalgety,and Eclipse. Came an unlucky second in the Perth Cup to another favourite of mine from that period, Magistrate. But the $66 dollar question i must ask; where can i find his career record? Racing Victoria has a comprehenisce list of all contemporary runners, but the details of those of the past are some what hard to access.


  6. I have referred it to Budge… he will get on to it later. I don’t have access to all of the studbook info which may be the custodian. Budge will know.

  7. Lachlan Waterman says

    Nice piece Crio. Fond memories of Placid Ark running around in the 80s…

  8. Thanks. The 1982/83 season was documented on TVN last night – I flicked in and out of a fantastic racing year.

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