Crio’s Racing: Darwin Carnival

Racing tends to ease in to its New Year.
Behind the scenes, though, it is a frantic time. Studmasters are on foal watch. Somewhere a champion is being born. Dreams, as is customary in racing, are being sold. New owners are pricing “toppers” for Ascot whilst trainers are chasing horses and fees while plotting programmes for 2013/14 and beyond.
Racegoers reflect on a year now consigned to Miller’s Guide and debate. The title of best 2yo will be contentious, with Overreach the likely winner. But I’ll give the nod to the fairytale Miracles Of (Loren Stojakovic’s) Life. May the miracle continue in her 3yo campaign.
Mares and 3yo Colts were the pick of the batch. Mares dominated the handicaps. At the “classic” age, Super Cool, Fiveandahalfstar and co were good – but Pierro and All Too Hard were great. They will be sorely missed on the track. Different types but remarkable talents.
Black Caviar’s “exhibition” gallops were memorable but the event rather than the races were more notable in her final hurrah. Off now to stud it will be interesting to see how she measures up as a broodmare.
The WFA stocks seemed skinny but Ocean Park’s record, culminating in a Cox Plate triumph over the colts, stands up with those celebrated in past years.
None of this calibre will front up this weekend but, of course, racing goes on.
More and more southerners are celebrating New Year with a trip to the Darwin Carnival. The Cup is run at Fannie Bay on the first Monday of August and the weekend is magnificent ….. perfect weather, good racing, relaxed company and, for those so inclined, the legendary Saturday Night Dinner under the stars outside the Casino. What an event! It is, alas, like so many other parts of our sporting landscape, changing. The promotions up North are tagging the dress up/glamour/party line run by the VRC et al and the point of difference is being lost. I reckoned last year was a different mood – rather than the shorts and thongs and endless casual sips it was being encroached by frocks, bubbles, collapses!! Pity. The weekend is fantastic and, if you’ve not been, highly recommended. Book early. Darwin’s an amazing town and you can do some incredible day trips or just sit in the shade. You’ll love the outdoor bars, watching the footy (and Ashes this year) while sitting in shorts and t-shirt and you will see racing and sporting identities everywhere.
The Palmerston Sprint is the Saturday feature… always a good race. 12 from 5.
The Cup is run as the final race on Monday (for TV – it is a logistical nightmare on course). Owners buy promising types and ship them up for a kill, but not all the runners handle the heat and the oiled track. I reckon I’ll be backing The Big Steel at hopefully around the 7/1 quoted – a bargain. If you are betting on Monday, note that the sprint seems to throw up a roughie each year.
Whilst so many of my colleagues are defrosting in the Territory, I’ll be carting my ‘lergy to the Valley – nothing like some collects to stiffen the immune system. Without having scoured the form I figure I’ll open with E/W Ticket To Toorak and then load up on Snowden’s in the next. There’s a watch on the 5 in R3 but R4 looks too tough.
Here are some early Quaddy ideas – I’ll add to them while watching the first session of the Test tomorrow (Thursday).
MR5- Awful race. 2 and 6.
MR6- No easier. Looking for value. 5 to beat 3.
MR7- 4,5,6
MR8- 8 and 6 might be the get out quinella.
Good luck!


  1. Lauren stojakovic’s win at Gawlwr last week was her first for several months and well over 50 rides.
    She’s at the Roxby Downs Cup meeting this Saturday.
    Anyone been there? I’ve heard it is great.

  2. Steve Baker says

    Pity Hay List is a gelding. He sure saw enough of Nellie’s arse to want a crack at it in the breeding barn. Poor bugger, the Ernie Els to Black Cav’s Tiger Woods. Wishing Exceed and Excel all the best. No pressure…

  3. Cauthen (MR1, No4) is a really intersting fav. 3 wide then careered in at first start in NZ. Whisked over here with James McDonald coming for the ride …. and nominating for all the “Classics”. Small but fascinating race – I am still E/W 3.

  4. Anyone else reckon the sub-editor is “naughty” with the caption for Brent Zarafa’s piece (Winning Post, p3) on the sudden death of boom young sire Northern Meteor?
    “Premature farewell to a shooting star”

  5. cowshedend says

    That first leg of the Quaddie is an absolute Barry. 80k for a hurdlers flat, reckon the 4 mightn’t be far away and it is awful.

  6. SR4 N010

  7. Had a coffee with Oges today and he was keen for me to post that Dragon Lord is a big hope in Darwin on Monday, now trained locally in Darwin but Jolly flying up for the winning photo opportunity. Oges is apparently offline while domiciled at Glenelg but we had a good chat about the racing background of some of the regulars here, including Elvis’ intro to racing in Adelaide…Allez beauty!!! The Noumea Graduation at Cheltenham on 21/3/81…time flies.

    I’m a bit keen on Broken in the 7th at the Valley. Streaky Fella should be a bird in the third at Morphettville and Debeersonus is a big tip from everyone I’ve had a pint with tonight (apparently it’s international beer day today ) so I’m not sure if this has influenced on the tip or not but I like it anyway as it’s drawn a barrier for the first time this prep and can go forward which seems a must on the inside track at present.

  8. Crio, any other chances in lraces 6 and 8 I need two others in each leg. Any thoughts? Paubai

  9. maybe 9 and 4 in both those races but there’s no confidence here.

  10. Thanks Crio. A new season, hope some winners, Paubai!

  11. cowshedend says

    Crio flying with Harmonic in Sydney, well done mate,A shocking bit of pilot error early in the day with B Loy channeling Rhys McLeod onThe Cleaner in the 3rd at the Valley.
    In the words of J.Hawkes “Two inches taller and they’d all be unemployed”

  12. cowshedend – I believe the term is “survived a betting drift” – in this case 7 to 19!…. won like a 6/4 pop. You beauty!

  13. I must apologise to Jock for giving him the wrong name of the horse David Jolly used to train and has been sent to Darwin. I saw David at the races yesterday and its name is Spartan Eagle which runs in the Cup (old age is a bugga)

  14. Nice horse, Oges, but Spartan Eagle is terrible odds from a shocking gate.

  15. Awful news from the Cup Day today with the death of star NT hoop Simone Montgomerie following a sickening fall in R6 at Fannie Bay.
    It was National Jockey’s Trust’s special day last Saturday to celebrate the riders and remember those who have lost their lives in accidents. How tragic to add another young name to the list so soon after. RIP

  16. cowshedend says

    Tragic Crio,leaves a 4yo daughter.

  17. Peter Flynn says


    Terrible news.

  18. Just sickening to hear. An incredibly high risk job- we forget that sometimes.

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