Crio’s Racing : Almost Autumn

I mentioned last week that we were “nearly there” – that the good ‘uns were trialling and trainers were announcing programmes for Autumn. There’s a slow “bleed” across to the fields for this Saturday as some better class horses make eagerly anticipated returns though, again, it’s been trials such as those at Randwick and Sandown on Friday and Cranbourne today (Thursday) which whet the appetite for the months ahead.

Fiorente, Appearance, Rain Drum and Sweet Idea were amongst those on show in Sydney, whilst Speediness and Wez Hunter’s pair, Smokin’ Joey and Bel Thor, showed their wares at Sandown.

In the first trial at Cranbourne this morning, Lankan Rupee beat Unpretentious, Polanski and Bel Sprinter. Not surprisingly, Robbie Laing declared the Derby winner on target for an Orr Stakes return next week. Later, in the 2yo fillies division, Mick Price/G.Boss unveiled unraced More Radiant in a narrow win over Diamond boom Earthquake. Stablemate Lion Of Belfort, a very progressive type, then won its 800m C+G trial. Another of Price’s stars, Samaready, is also ready to go, having had a jumpout at The Heath on Tuesday with Shamal Wind.

Meanwhile it didn’t take long to notice a lift in quality when fields were released for Caulfield this Saturday. The feature, undoubtedly, is The Manfred (MR6), named for the enigmatic champ ( ) featured on our site’s preview last year.

From the outset the racing seems keener than in recent weeks, though Weiry looks to have his fingerprints over most of the first half of the afternoon. Even R1 has some interesting 3yo fillies, with So Hasty (3) and Scratchy Bottom (4) likely to be winners during Feb and the toppy Kiss Me Ketut, having done nothing wrong recently.

R4 (2yo, 1100m, G3) is worth some time, both for future reference and to get a Quaddy bank. Illustrious Lad (3), though maybe not well in against the topweight, looks overs at 16+/1.

I’ll also be shopping for value in a tricky, modest first leg (MR5, 1600m, F+M),sticking with the white hot Ellerton/Zahra/Mallyon combo and Spellrocker (7) @14/1.

Prince Harada (5) is the early fav for the main event (MR6, 1200m, G3, 3yoSW), renewing hostilities with controversial McNeil conqueror, Fast’n’Rocking (1). Punters will rally to Olly who has controversially shunned Vasil’s  young star to get a sit on Gai’s (4) Bull Point. I’ll be keeping an eye on Hard Stride which takes a mighty leap to this class on the back of some excellent Werribee form.

And, whilst on Werribee, some punters are still lamenting the “certainty beat” which was Lord Of The Sky down there on 25/6. Since then he is 3 from 3, last time out winning with ridiculous ease at a Caulfield midweeker – this is much tougher but the wraps are enormous and he goes around short and “declared”. I reckon Kiss A Rose (10) @16/1 is a bargain E/W fresh.

The last (MR8, 2000m, Listed) will be a good punting race. There are some stalwarts here with staying prizes ahead and Prince Of Penzance (13), on the back of some terrific runs, will be less than 5/1 for M.Payne. I’d prefer M.Kent/C.Williams (5) E/W @14/1.


It is an interesting card at Caulfield and well worth some scrutiny. Elsewhere, I’ll be at the Valley tomorrow night for ordinary fields sure to be counterbalanced by a beautiful night under lights for patrons out on the lawns.

It is an exciting few weeks ahead for race fans – plenty of great picnic meetings dotted all around the country and the big guns being wheeled out in Melbourne and Sydney as of next week.

Good luck!


  1. Elvis should be in his element this week.
    Smokin freakin your kidden me F@~%! Joey ( I think I have it right) is trialing and N Parham has brought a few over from the West. I’ll patiently wait for Elvis and the Budge to have a go.
    Yet to do any form but would like to lay Laid Back Larry at 5/4 at first try Caulfield from a wide gate, has it beaten anything that can run?

  2. After a wipeout weekend where heat and injury knocked our chances at the Bridge news from the beach is thin on the ground. So with that Im lying low and beating dehydration this weekend

  3. Always a good idea to keep hydrated Oges. Excellent card this week at the Heath. Agree with Jock’s assessment of Gai’s horse, suggest it might be a significant drifter though, in true Gai fashion, she has already said it is a Caulfield Cup chance!
    Also reckon Lord Of The Sky is pretty skinny odds against a good field of sprinters. Shamal Wind, African Pulse and Kiss A Rose are all unbeaten first up so prepared to risk Robbie’s speedster at short odds – also not well weighted compared to some of these considering he only has restricted form – tomorrow will tell.

    If you manage to get hold on a Winning Post this week, check out Page 59. John Wathen-Berry writes up an International Report each week which is always well written and interesting. This week features a good old-fashioned Pommie multi that got up last week. Great story.

  4. Good to see you back Budge – you always have something to offer.- re the last comment I had a Pommie friend email me and tell me the story. He lives in Cambridge and attends Newmarket when he can – he said word didnt get around until the prices dropped and his son is involved in horses at Newmarket and he didnt have a clue (the only one I can remember here was Cameron bringing a horse from Swan Hill and it was backed off the map in Adelaide and duly won (1978 I think)

  5. Crio
    Im not sure if this is an omen to have a go at you tips or a warning to stay clear. I got new rego plates yesterday CRIO Q8 so do I load up on the last

  6. Oges,
    Mortolox was the horse. Here’s a link to the story

    Getting Closer and Fine Cotton were 2 of the more famous plunges in my time.

  7. Omitted to mention that Hobart’s Carnival kicks off with some excellent racing this Sunday and the Cup next week.

  8. Budge,

    Good pick up on Mortolox. I was runner for LB that day and clearly remember the short walk between the derby and rails. I had just got back to the rails and going down the field and saw I had 100’s in the book and that had gone so started back ( 100 metres at the most) and it was already into 14’s ish in the derby courtesy of the Manual boys. I think LB was onto it already and didn’t get stung for anything major.
    Form read 3 duck eggs on wet tracks previously. Cannot remember if Alf Matthews had a ride in the race, Pegus was on Mortolox but suspect he may have been up running second ensuring Mortolox had an easy run in front.

  9. Dad’s story was that he saw Mrs Manuel have her little “interest” on it and so his radar was up. Massive go.

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