Crio’s Racing: Caulfield Guineas Day 2011

Welcome to any novices as well as the regular readers of this racing section of our site as the gallops finally get their turn in the local sporting spotlight. Feel free to ask questions, add ideas and, of course, justify some tips.

You’ve chosen a great weekend to tune in as the Spring has spluttered thus far, hindered by the extended footy season, some fickle weather and some unfortunate fixturing.

But now we have the real deal.

Caulfield Guineas Day.

For the uninitiated, Guineas races, named for the prizemoney currency, are for 3yr olds over a “mile”. The 2000 Guineas, the first of the “Classics”, has been run at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile (UK) since 1809, with the fillies’ version, the 1000 Guineas, only 5 years it’s junior. It is an intriguing distance, challenging the former juvenile Slipper bound (1200m) “dashers” to clash with emerging “Derby” (2400m) types. The Caulfield Guineas has become a celebrated “Sires” race, with recent winners including Starspangledbanner, Redoute’s Choice and Lonhro.

It is nominally the feature race on what is consistently one of the best programmes of the year and the MRC are rightly expecting a big crowd at the Heath. The drawcard, however, seems not the three Group Ones – the Guineas, Caulfield Stakes and Toorak Handicap – but the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (MR4, 1000m); or, more specifically, the reappearance of Black Caviar and her bid for a fantastic 14 straight wins. Canberran Karuta Queen flies and Moody’s second stringer Kulgrinda will like the 5 furlongs but, despite maybe preferring further, the champ should have lengths on this lot. She beat much better opposition at poorer weight pulls last season. Not a betting proposition, but good for racing nonetheless.

Another early race (12.45, MR3)is the time-honoured Gr2 Herbert Power (2400m). Its charm has always lain with the victor’s obtaining exemption from the Caulfield Cup ballot and thus a last gasp shot at fame. If memory serves me correctly, it was for a time run on the Wednesday, thus giving the winner almost no time to “butter up”. But some on the honour roll, like fabled mudlark Van Der Hum, and later Arwon and Rogan Josh, have won this en route to Flemington glory. It is, some trainers believe, a good hit out in a handicapper’s preparation. Public interest will surround the return of Bauer (1), who has had just four starts since losing the 2008 Melbourne Cup by a lip to Viewed. He finally broke through to win a Haydock (UK) Handicap last month – his first victory since the 08 Geelong Cup – and earn a trip back here. Olly takes the mount. He’s joined by some other stalwarts, such as past winner Master O’Reilly, who won this race and then the Caulfield Cup back in 2007 – and been winless in nearly 30 subsequent outings! But there are some horses “on the improve” amongst this motley mob. Shewan (14) was a certainty beaten here a couple of weeks ago when Nick Hall got lost out the back. C. Symons replaces. Hall will ride for his godfather, Lloyd Williams, on the very promising likely fav, Tanby(13). Kav’s Midnight Martini (9) and the poorly drawn Lucky Eighty Eight (5) look the other main chances. 14 from 9.

Incredibly the Gr1 WFA Caulfield Stakes (MR5, 2000m) is not a Quaddy leg! This is a really interesting race in which some reputations are very much on the line. Punters have almost given up on highly spruiked Lights of Heaven (11) and Playing God (8), though a slashing return from either here would catapult them up the Cox Plate charts. Ever popular Whobegotyou (1) and last start Underwood winner Lion Tamer (7) look to be the leading chances, but scrutineers will carefully monitor Mighty High (3), At First Sight (4), Alcopop (5) and Sincero (6). In some years we have had few runners and very few chances, but the 2011 version is fascinating. 1,6,5.

The Toorak Handicap (MR6, Gr1, 1600m) always has great depth, with weights, barriers and luck playing key roles. King’s Rose (6) has drawn really awkwardly in gate one and must be a risk as fav. The Toff (2) has got a good marble but 58kgs is a big steadier in a hurly burly race. My money seems likely to go on 20/1 pop Majestic Music (13), down in the weights, with a wide gate but a form hoop. Amongst a host of chances, I’ll include Dreamaway (12) and Blackie (14).

I’m not as rapt as some in the Guineas this year, disappointed that there aren’t more local formlines to weave through the dominant NSW colts. Does a small field help or hinder Smart Missile, whose bubble burst more through bad luck than anything else last start? He’ll avoid strife in this event, but the pace might be muddling. Manawanui will probably lead, Helmet sit outside him, and the race will take shape on the bend. A poor value punting race.  2 from 3. Wait on Chase The Rainbow until at least the 2000m at the Valley or, more probably, the Derby at HQ.

If you manage to find yourself in front with two to go it might be wise to look for the gate. If, alas, you are chasing, there’s a wide raffle to test your nerve (MR8, 1200m). I’ve rarely been a wrap for Kiwi form in the past but am reviewing that this season, so might even nibble at the 20/1 Hinemoa (15) in a field where you could tip or knock most of them.

The last looks to have fewer chances and I’m expecting Testa My Patience (4) to be handier and turn the tables on Utah Saints (6).

Hopefully the weather stays fine, Black Caviar wins and the Carnival gets the fillip needed. I’ll be swinging the Lillis Kilmartin bag and calling the bets in the Paddock on Saturday so hope to see some Knackers amongst the crowd (and maybe for a cleanser after?). I’ll be doing likewise at the modest Valley Nights meeting on Friday and also at the bumper Cranbourne Cup meeting Sunday.

I’ll need help to escape unscathed! Good luck.



  1. My jinx has continued as trainers clamour to scratch my selections! – on this occasion, Whobe is out for the Spring.

  2. A great indepth look at the program and anyone who can attend 3 days of racing neeeds more than one “cleanser” after that marathon

  3. David Downer says

    Nice work Crio.

    Still doing the form but in the Stakes have been keen on At First Sight since acceptances – upon which it was $8.50, but with Whobe scratching and weight of money is bloody $4.80 already! Really have to start pouncing early …or maybe the good folk at L.Kilmartin can give me a couple of extra points??

    I think the “previously held Wednesday” race to which you refer is actually the Coongy Hcp. No longer a lead-up, it’s run on Cup day itself.

  4. R2 – watch for any betting moves on (8) PONTINGTON. Half-sister to Miss Octopussy and Minnesota Shark. Everything in this family runs well. Worth a spec.

    R3 – Great trifecta race. Give chances to (10) LOPOV and (11) EXCEPTIONALLY at big odds.

    R4 – I guess she just wins again. Any danger that she is not as sharp 1st up at 1000m now she is a 5 year-old?

    R5 – LION TAMER to beat ALCOPOP

    R6 – Keen on DAO DAO each way. Goes best 2nd up (pushed Whobe last time in) and D Beadman will help offset the barrier. Will be upwards of $20 and appeals in a fairly weak Group One.

    R7 – No idea. If they all run to their best, i think SMART MISSILE wins, but its a big IF. Should be a great race.

    R8 – (5) VALENTINE MISS looks best bet of the day. Ran hope well last start behind well-supported SISTER MADLY who subsequently ran out of her skin when 2nd to SEPOY. MISS OCTOPUSSY is main danger.

    R9 – Quite keen on (2) SPACECRAFT. Has a touch of class (compared to this field) and BLINKERS ON!! S Arnold, well drawn and should be freshened up for this 1400m handicap after having raced almost exclusively in stakes races for ages. Bottom weight (15) TOO DEADLY must be included in multiples.

    Happy punting – looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.

  5. David Downer says

    For what it’s worth…

    R3 – Might shoot for some value with the Internationals here. Not a terrific field and not sure any of the locals would be competitive in a race like the Ebor. Purple Moon and All the Good have come out of that race in previous years and done well in Caulf/Melb Cup. Moyenne Corniche won the Ebor this year with his stablemate Saptapadi sitting wide and an unlucky 5th. Saptapadi is rated the better horse by the trainer, can race either back or forward and has a turn of foot, and gets a significant weight turnaround on Moyenne Corniche today. So I’ll speck Saptapadi e/w at around the $20. Of our mob, Macedonian will be running on, P.Moody seems confident he’s ready to fire up at this distance range.

    R4 – Sit back and enjoy history.

    R5 – Was very keen on At First Sight but he’s succumbed to a blood temp this morning and is scratched. The track softening last night opens it up for Lion Tamer obviously, he’ll shorten right up. But I’ll head with Alcopop for a bit more value – seems to be a Guineas day specialist – smashed them in the Herbert Power two years ago, and 2nd to So You Think (handy type) in this race last year. He’s back in good nick this campaign.

    R6 – The Toorak, always a raffle! As loathe as I am to back G.Waterhouse runners (she just annoys me, bloody energiser bunny!), I’m warming to Fast Clip given my pace-map. Should get a soft lead, and it’s last on-pace effort in Sydney was very solid when working hard to grab the lead and sticking on right to the line. Has been set specifically for this race. I think King Mufhasa’s overs – will similarly go forward, big weight, but has beaten/been close to Jimmy Choux (Cox Plate fave) recently. King’s Rose might be the obvious – Stocks Stakes form is hot hot hot. Dao Dao probably overs too, last second-up effort was a close 2nd to Whobe in Blamey over 1600 (and gets a weight turnaround on Toorak Toff today). Majestic Music a big run in the Rupert Clarke too. Wow, mentioned plenty there and mighn’t have even nabbed the winner! Will stick with Fast Clip and King Mufhasa each way.

    R7 – Helmet completes the first leg of the Guineas-Cox Plate double.

    Have a good day punters.

  6. Wish I’d takren a Quaddie yesterday.
    Just back from the Froggy Newitt show at Cranbourne!

  7. Any mail for Wednesday? I will be there. Anyone else?

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