Here’s what’ll happen.

It did last year:

A mini-bus will pull up just as I am getting to the gates and out will tumble a small and motley group with rag-tag placards. They’ll wait for the pre-arranged TV camera and then froth at the lens like so many others who somehow yearn to be on the little screen. They’ll be largely ignored by the (small and motley) crowd arriving for the Australian Hurdle / Australian Steeple meeting.

Here’s what MRC officials should do:

Issue the News vultures a clear directive – you can film the “sloganists” and go home, or you can come in and get footage of the races. Straight out betting only. No Each Way!

The camera crews are there for the catastrophe. They’d serve more purpose screening drivers out on the Princes H’way or monitoring gangs at nearby train stations. It is ugly and undignified. I’m tempted to wave a banner! But, like the others, I’m there for the races (well, for work actually…it’s a big industry!).

For us, it will be business as usual at a quiet, fairly lacklustre winter meeting. Which is a pity. The Australian Hurdle and Australian Steeple are important races, but authorities are reticent to push their barrow, fearful of a trigger-happy (oops!) mainstream media. I’m excited on several counts. One, as I’ve mentioned at another time, is that jumps races allow staff plenty of time to have lunch and get a coffee – not so simple during 2 yr old helter skelters! At Sandown it is also very easy to view the races – something which is nigh impossible at, for example, Flemington, where the main ring is cloistered out the back and the racing itself can be so far away. But, remarkably, what I’m most interested  to see is Australasia’s most famous jumper, Banna Strand, tackle the fences. I know he loves to jump. Even the ghouls couldn’t argue that his herculean bound in to the spectators at the ‘Bool was vindication of a natural inclination to leap. I’m tipping John Wheeler might tie the hoop’s boots in to the stirrups and let the horse have its way – though, in fact, the good judges warn this (3900m!) might be a bit short as he’s working up to the National!

Australia’s pre-eminent meeting this weekend is again in Brisbane, where Eagle Farm’s Group 1 Oaks is supported by four Group 2s on an outstanding card. Graeme Rogerson’s Scarlett Lady (BR7 No4) is looking for six on the trot, but these are a really competitive bunch of fillies so, with some give in the track, I’m plumping for John Saddler’s Heidilicious (12) and speccing In A Tangle (6) at cricket score odds.

Shoot Out (1) will vie for favouritism with Glass Harmonium (4) in the Eagle Farm Cup (BR2). These small fields (6 noms) for WFA middle-distance (2200m) races can throw up a result…Fanjura?

Benfica (BR4 No3) is considered the banker of the day in the Sires’ Produce and Sincero (BR6 No10) might have to anchor some Quaddies, especially since the first leg looks a field ticket – throw a dart to separate this even bunch.

The Brisbane Carnival, despite the disappointments of Black Caviar and Haylist’s early withdrawals, continues to offer great challenges and excellent racing….really looking forward to the Stradbroke meeting next week.

Racing fans are also looking forward to the feature English races, with The Derby the highlight of the Epsom Festival this weekend (Sunday morning). Australia’s Ascot hopes, Silent Witness and Hinchinbrook, are now settled in to Newmarket and preparing to uphold our outstanding sprinting record. With So You Think likely to figure in other Group races, there’ll be some late nights in front of Sky Channel….the British racing coverage is outstanding and well worth some time invested.

We have much to get excited about, then, over the upcoming weeks. For now I, like the horses and those vested in the jumps industry, simply want to get through tomorrow. It somehow bothers me that Le Pines sponsor the legs of Melbourne’s Daily Double. Hopefully the omen is not MR6 No10!

Good punting!


  1. Adam Muyt says

    “Even the ghouls couldn’t argue that his herculean bound in to the spectators at the ‘Bool was vindication of a natural inclination to leap.” Odd sentiments behind that sentence, Crio.

    Fox hunting’s adored by it’s fans too. Justifications galore, with those who protest over it’s barbarism inevitably dismissed by it’s lovers as a motley, rag-tag mob. There are better ways to enjoy a punt or the gee-gee’s than jumps, surely?

  2. It was a fantastic leap

  3. As a “desperate” punter for over 30 years I can tell you the the vast majority could not give 2 hoots about jumps racing, walk into any TAB or Pubtab while a jumps race is about to starty and you will see that it is only the needy and the greedy who bet on them, give me a full field of slow flat horses any day !!

  4. That’s the irony. the protesters are really only serving the interest of corporate bookies and racing bodies – jumps racing is doomed due to lack of turnover. That alone will be the underlying cause.

  5. Good piece, Crio.

  6. For all the fuss, nothing happened.
    Hopefully that is what both groups wanted?
    I was peeved when I got tho the course – a big area directly in front of the main entrance had been cordoned off for the use of “protesters”. Don’t know if any fronted or not. They could have rallied in the Ch10 canteen and just superimposed the images if they wanted! There were some extremely peeved oldies who had to hobble 300 yards more than was customary due to the roping. Farcical!

    More importantly, no horse nor beast was harmed, although bookies took a pummelling.
    The first winner, Moody’s 2 yr old, looked a real prospect.

    The Derby was held at Epsom last night…here’s a great summation.
    search for footage if you want to see a cracking race.

Leave a Comment