Crio’s Racing: Derby Day Decisions

Don’t be misled by the tag “Derby Day”. Sure, it is not untrue – the VRC Derby is run at Flemington on Saturday – but it is the programme rather than a “Classic” run at the wrong time of the year and over an unsuitable distance that holds the real appeal.  The Derby infatuation is a throwback excuse for nobs to wear ridiculous clobber and to say “Blue Riband Classic”. The winner is generally forgettable, though we did have a grand edition last season.

The card itself, with a glut of feature races, generally maintains a high standard. It presents a mouthwatering array of Group races held to satisfy most categories….3yo set weight 6f and marathon options as well as a 1600m SW+P; Fillies at a mile and a quarter; the Mares at the mile; Open WFA 2000m; a G1 Straight 6 …a fantastic blend. Sometimes it lives up to the hype. Occasionally races fall away.

Arguably only Races 1,4,7 and 8 could be viewed as Grand Finals for their participants this week. Yet the crowds will flock to HQ in their bizarre toppers and shiny “Man To Man” options on the Lawns and the only certain winner would be getting a dollar for each time a pundit declares this a “day for the purists” – pure pissheads mostly from recent experiences.
Some races wane. The Mackinnon, for example. Ideally it should be a coveted G1 WFA Classic but it seems to have a variety of roles. In the past it was a non penalty warm up for Cups horses when the accepted wisdom was you must run on the Saturday before the 2 miler. At other times it was a Cox Plate consolation (or, such as last year, a misguided crack after the GF the week before). The noms had me hoping for a ripper edition in 2013 but they’ve dropped away disappointingly, leaving just 9 acceptors but nevertheless an interesting mix. Solzhenitsyn (MR5, No4) is a query at the trip, but they’ve all got question marks. If it gets the distance, it likely wins.
This, of course, is the quandary facing the barely 3yo Colts engaged in the Derby (MR6). At set weight you have to favour the form…try 1,2,3. But the big crowd, diabolical gate and searching run home often leads to upsets. I’ll leave this to the breeding experts but, if you must bet, maybe throw the 17 in to multis at massive odds and with Rebel Raider reminders.

crio rebel raider

Rebel Raider ensures that Theo Harms has shoes in the 2008 Derby

One thing we seem assured of this week is a perfect track so there should be little bias. Presumably most gurus are getting stuck in to some form study, so I’ll give a quick overview of the day and then start some forensics myself….
MR1- Carbine Club. 3yo. G3. 1600m.
Always a great starter. Usually a quality winner. Hucklebuck (2) fits the mould. I’ll be watching for the famous Galillee colours on the talented, wayward and maybe backward Saintly Lad (9) – in the last carnival for Bart out of his old stables, this is a colt to follow.
MR2- Wakeful. 3yo fillies. G2. 2000m.
Again, usually provides a good winner en route to the Oaks. No Guelph here which is why May’s Dream is the rage. 5/4 seems short enough. Arabian Gold is the clear danger. 5 and 6 with claims.
MR3- Hotham. Hcp. G3. 2500m.
This race changes its name as often as Darren Jolly switches clubs – maybe they should call it after the most recent winner to go on and win the Big One. Once a viable prep and a last chance for a penalty, it seems unlikely to provide a contender for Tuesday, but owners still love the chance to dream or at least to be part of the pageant next week.
In a wide open race I thought Moudre was not without a show at 25/1 – Budge might flinch at the hoop.
MR4- 3yo. SW. G1. 1200m.
Excited to see Zoustar, which looks the real deal.
If it handles the straight – and many get lost – he looks a lock for Pumper’s 100th G1.
Lion of Belfort is very good (12/1)
MR5- L K S Mackinnon Stakes. G1. 2000m.
Knocks on most. As mentioned, if Solz gets the trip I suppose it is the default tip.

Crio rogan josh

Rogan Josh the last Mackinnon/Cup double winner in 1999

MR6- Derby.3yo. G1. 2500m.

hmmmm……the Vase was a weird race last week. Polanski for Robbie Laing would be a great story. 16 and 17 blowouts. Better option is to stay out.

MR7- Classic. Mares. G1. Mile.
The race that has emerged as a Spring highlight and a real target of trainers and breeders. Wonderful mares have won with some catchy names to attract the crowds on the Lawns – Divine Madonna (07), Typhoon Tracy (09), Hurtle Myrtle (11)… Appearance was a deserved victor last year. Red Tracer’s form has been irresistible and she comes in super well at the weights. She’s genuine G1. 14 is the watch.

MR8- H’cp. G2. 1200m.
Who’s got under the Handicapper’s guard? You need to be good to catch some of these. Maybe 4 or 8?

MR9- H’cp. G3. 1400m.
If you’ve not got your bank by now, you are in strife. Motley mob. Why not cheer for Oges’ mate Yendall on DD’s sentimental fav Out Of Coober, again at good odds. No bet for me.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to the formguide and sharing some speculations with other knackers.
This is emphatically a NO QUADDY meeting – unless committed to phone numbers/postcode/D.O.B which may be as good a system as any.
It is a long week. You’d be better advised putting your quaddy coin in the Salvo’s tin. You never know, you might need them sooner than you think!
Good luck!

crio salvation army

Crio almanackers cup

(Ed: Why not join the Knackers at the People’s Palace for the Cup Trifecta Lunch?)


  1. ed- Didn’t use Shocking Handicap prompt?

    Also, unbelievably, we won nowt at MV.
    Got expenses Friday night and just got out on the last on Saturday (the winner was “unders” as there were so many queries on others and we copped a $500 bet on it late to skim the cream!).
    Regroup and counterattack.

  2. You got pictures. Stop complaining.
    Didn’t see the “Shocking Handicap” reference. Must have got lost in digital translation. I’ll use it Tuesday in honour of past winners.

  3. It is a bit of a mystery card this Saturday. Something wonderful will emerge but not all of the races will live up to their rating.
    VRC would love Huckleberry and Zoustar to stamp their class and a few “characters” to have winners. Pumper will be a story regardless.

  4. Crio, Will definitely be steering clear of Moudre which probably gives it a big chance. Also give yourself a face slap for confusing Bart’s colours with those of Galilee (J Miller aboard in the red, yellow and black from memory).
    Get out on British General. Flemington specialist in great form- also G Boss replacing L Currie. Another interesting jockey change in R3, Ethiopia, H Bowman replaces R McLeod.

  5. Crio,

    Form aside (as is my MO) Saintly Lad is, I agree, a horse to follow. Given Black Bart’s acknowledgement of the good horse, one can’t help but think he had shown him something early to vindicate such a lofty name. Goes close.

    Still to view the tapes, but Star Fashion will appreciate Flemington again after the Caulfield Cup meeting FARCE, as will Mr Moet in the Mackinnon and You’re So Good and Xanadu (that’s right Budge) in the Myer.

    Amaethon goes really well fresh and I reckon it would be wise to include him in multiples in the 8th, along with Longport, who the new owners paid a poultice for recently and may well have aimed her at this from the hammer fall.

  6. Meant to mention Star Fashion.
    What is your punting profile over the Carnival, Elvis?

  7. Crio

    Don’t quite understand the question, but I usually go pretty well Derby Day and Honda Emirates et al Day, but burn on Cup Day, if that answers.

  8. Cowshedend says

    One thing for sure Crio, there will be a number of very ordinary conveyances walking out with Black Type against their names tomorrow.
    So on that note will tip Ironstein in the Hotham, has not won for more than 18 months,but rarely runs a poor one when carrying less than 55,(see run in Metropolitan).
    I am with Budge and British General, this horse is tough as old teak, was headed nearly a length and fought back to win, the danger is Mic Mac who will get a nice suck along behind it from gate one with Williams likely to give him a soft run.

  9. Berrigan Cup Saturday,


  10. Almanac racing in action of Sunday Eight Grand Boy . Kilmore race 1

  11. Cowshedend says

    Had a fair dinkum Barry Crocker of a week, horse we sold ran a better race at Swan Hill on Monday, than one we kept, who ran like a busted arse at Seymour yesterday (at 5/4!).
    And beware Budge re Amaethon, because our thing that went ordinary yesterday has been more than holding his own against Amaethon in track work

  12. What a great summary Crio and to answer the message I received on the forum here is the answer
    AR 2 small field e/w 6
    AR3 5 -solid win
    AR6- 4 – good e/w
    AR7 – 6 e/w but at odds
    and yes I will be on Yendall in the last though would have liked to see him on Polanski after his first win (then he was suspended and Bowman took over)
    Budge- any chance Molto Bene ?
    Take up bowls Cowshed end- easier on the pocket but the bar is a trap

  13. Great work, Oges ….if a beach walk and then a bottle of red counts as work!
    A result here and you will be nominated for Best Team Man.
    I will have something small on all of them.

  14. Molto Bene definite chance Oges. Needs pace but will be flying home with Fifi.

  15. Steve Baker says

    For someone who’s been going like a busted arse on the punt, it’s reassuring to see that others are as equally cautious when assessing the card at HQ. I could stop a train at present.

    I’m one photo finish away from walking into the local TAB, giving the operator $100 and saying, “let’s cut to the chase, just take it” and walking out.

  16. Good on you Oges, will keep an eye on the SA mail, good luck

  17. Steve you are in line for Crios Racings best quotes of the carnival( Brilliant) though Flynns one word quote “Boom” isnt too bad and neither is Crios German one last week. Cowshedends lament today is worthy of note

  18. Crio,
    Looks like a few of us are hurting after last week.
    I’m confused by some of the comments, Elvis’ punting profile??? like the rest of us probably manic early in the week and then determined by how much dry powder is available after that.
    Down to business, I am generally pretty good derby day and in particular the main race. Complacent cannot win(no cushy run on the speed here), Savvy Nature can and Pinstripe Lane is the roughy.
    I agree with those spruiking Star Fashion and will trifecta up with Maleleuca in the mix. I also agree with Ironstien, 54Kg’s and barrier 2 will get all the favours and be hard to beat, recent runs have been pretty good.
    I’ve got to have something on Fast and Rocking in the Coolmore at 25’s or better then dodge the Mackinnon and have a crack at Molto Bene, this is her big chance and any luck will be a hope, will be strong at the end.Cannot bring myself to like the general in the last, would rather try Eximius for no particular reason.
    I’m very keen on Last Day in Adelaide (7th) last run on Parks track which is leaders only, big improver.
    Good Luck, Hope the Budge is lighting up a stogie on the turn out of the straight in the derby but no Brewery Boys there.

  19. Jock – I think it is coming up to 32 years ago when we lit up those cigars as they went past the post the first time but doesn’t seem that long ago. Also the 29th anniversary of Chagemar nosing out Centra Briseis in the Dalgety which would have got me out. Probably a good lesson that you can’t always bet your way out of a hole!

    Quite like Steps In time (blinkers first time) in the sprint. Has excellent 1200m form. Shamal Wind was at least as stiff as Charamonte last start, has won at track/distance and is the main danger.

    Don’t fancy Red Tracer at the mile but don’t see a lot of speed for all the run-ons, Fifi, Molto Bene, Sharnee Rose, Thy, Ava’s Delight, etc. Maybe Floria is the one?

    I see they put Tupac Amaru over a couple of jumps this week. Always seems to sharpen them up. Drawn OK and will get the Derby journey. Could be hard to beat. Don’t fancy either of the faves from their gates. I think this year’s field actually has more depth than most years.

    Prepared to risk Zoustar first time up the straight. Maybe Lord Of Belfort each way.

    Good luck to all!

  20. Budge,

    I partly with you in the sprint. I helped to stop Shamal Wind last start but think Lonhspresso is the one.
    Got the 2 fav’s going in the quaddie at MV in the last so hoping for a head start for tomorrow, need to save on a leader I think.
    When we work out Elvis” carnival punting profile, I want to try and understand his profile at roulette, actually not, life is too short.

  21. Crio,

    I am not about to start a regular breeding thing, but for those entertaining having something on Hawkspur in The Cup, consider this. He is by a 1400m winner out of a Catbird (Golden Slipper) mare, out of a Turf Ruler (Oakleigh Plate) mare, out of a Kaoru Star mare who is a three quarter to Zephyr Bay, another Oakleigh Plate winner. Not saying he can’t win, Shocking won a Qld Derby prior to his Cup win, but sheesh, a lot of short course stuff going on there.

  22. While you’re at it explain how a son of Snitzel wins a Cox Plate.

  23. Better still, explain how Michelle Payne rode group 1 winners.

    Elvis, can you apply breeding theory to the Derby first up we can worry about the cup after Saturday night?
    I like Pinstripe Lane as a roughy and also San Diego, what do you reckon? Before answering, bear in mind that Crio and the Budge on breeding should both have been teetotal, you on the other hand threw to type, at least in the physical sense.

  24. David Downer says

    This forum is well aware of my fondness for Polanski. Has the gate speed to make use of barrier 1 from that awkward 2500m start, gets the absolute box-seat, and will stay all day anyway. I’ve taken the $13 at Ladbrokes double the odds. That does allow for savers. But old mate Roman might just get those too.

    After the typical shenanigans at St Kilda today, Saintly Lad must be the omen to upset Hucklebuck in the 11:20am opener. Though I’m not sure if it means he runs first or last.

    Warming to Kelinni in the Hotham. He won this with the 57kgs last year, coming off a 4 length 2nd in the Metrop. Interrupted campaign this time, but under 3 lengths off them in the Caulfield Cup is a good enough sign he’s nearing his peak again. Hard to find a knock on Let’s Make Adeal too. Been very consistent all Spring among the stronger formlines, and basically kissed the turf in the H.Power and managed to stay on her feet and finish strong.

    The quality of the McKinnon is on the nose, but for the assembled field of just nine, it’s actually an intriguing little race. Dear Demi the blow-out at some odds? Hvasstan will get some obligatory “because it’s Hvasstan” sheckles. But JetAway might just go on the tear here (from the 400 this time instead of the 1400).

    The Mares is the race of the day. Have to stick with Catkins, always puts in an honest show. Bonaria finds an extra leg at Flemington. Will also forgive Xanadu at Caulfield – I can only assume something was majorly amiss that day – will be massive odds in this.

    There’s a Boom down the Flemington straight. So you just back them. Also take note of Steps In “Blinkers First” Time.

    O.O.Coober in the last. And maybe the hardy Black Saturday horse, British General. Takes no shit does BG!

    Will be on track, see you out there….

  25. Did you get the Quaddy tonight Jock.
    Hardly anyone there but we emptied all available pockets…weird game – tonight was more profitable than last weekend! Less stressful too.
    Shamal Wind can’t carry weight. Good chance tmrw.
    I’ll be on the fence and Budge in the Rails carpark.

  26. Mt Wycheproof Cup also. Sounds like a great little meeting.
    Here a link to an article on RVL’s site :-

  27. With regards to breeding, which race commentator used to say:
    “and Johnny Weismuller’s sister drowned too.”
    Was it Ken Howard, Cliff Carey, Bert Bryant??? One of the old timers.
    You can find a post hoc rationalisation for anything. Mahogany (from memory) won a Derby by a space on class. If they relax they can do anything at set weights at that age. But if they fizz up and pull they are as much chance as Johnny Weismuller’s sister.

  28. Ripsnorter says


    Always enjoy the preview and musings of the upcoming card.

    I think the derby this year is the pick up the card which is unusual and give half a the field a chance but going the sydney form as I think it is superior. Complacent although has not had a tough run yet has been impressive enough for mine of the favs – Thunder Fantasy one at odds who has not had much luck in the last couple who could surprise at the odds.

    I think Bass Straight is good value in the Hotham – has had a funny prep but not done much wrong and maybe the one with the most upside in a weak race.

    If they walk in the mackinnon and solzenitzen sits behind the lead with cover will be very hard to toss – has never been far off the best and maybe get the race to suit tomorrow.

    I liked the win of gypsy diamond last start and maybe a filly on the up to put in your multiples.

    Chiaramonte really gets her chance tomorrow – excuses every week this prep and is in well against this lot tomorrow.

    Good luck with all having a go !

  29. I’m thinking about consulting the Beyondblue website after yesterday’s events.

    After spiraling into a deep depression after the last, I’ve started looking on the bright side and there’s about 500 races this week that give me a chance to restore finances.

  30. Dear Crio, Oges, Budge, Jock, Elvis, DD, Cowshedend etc:
    I have consulted the results of the last 2 Saturdays and I find that you are being pantsed by Sal (who found the Hotham winner at odds) and most galling of all Litza (who found the McKinnon winner at odds).
    Could it be true that these hours of consulting form, replays, tips, touts and beach walks are all of little significance? That it is all a ‘numbers game’ as Litza suggests, and that a vivid imagination and access to internet soft porn are just as valid a strategy in staying out of the poor house.
    Your reputation and editorial privileges may have to be withdrawn if there is not proof in the next week to back up your extravagant claims of oracular far sightedness.
    The Assistant Under Editor

  31. This is a serious challenge here Peter_B. After a beach walk I will see what I make of it

  32. Peter,
    I’ll bite just this once. Luckily I do not have a reputation nor editorial privileges to defend. However, crio’s racing is posted weekly and has been a worthwhile endeavour. All the blokes listed above have passion for and knowledge of racing – and understand that it is not just about backing a winner (though it helps).
    I certainly never claim to be a good tipster/punter. The aim is to give an oversight of the upcoming meeting and racing goss in general and to encourage discussion – which includes a range of things as well as tips. The insights from contributors are valuable/amusing/sentimental/irate….but invariably entertaining and different from what you’d get elsewhere.
    Pay $5 a minute for someone’s whispers if you like.

  33. Crio,
    As you know I am a non-punter these days for financial and emotional well-being reasons. I always find the punter-to-punter banter on the Crio’s Racing thread very entertaining. Long may it continue and grow.
    I just thought it was amusing that Litza’s “method” was producing a better result at Carnival time, and Sal found a good one that was overlooked by the forum.
    Best of luck for Tuesday to all who set sail on uncertain seas in small boats.

  34. Most of us are fully aware of the likely destination…more Christmas Island than Christmas bonus.
    I’ll throw in a kickstarter for Tuesday in a couple of hours.

  35. David Downer says

    PB. Please.

    The facetiousness of the burley you’ve tossed here is matched only by the dubious rigour applied to your selective results analysis!

    But I responded, so a point to you.


  36. We’re no better or worse than the footy spruikers who populate this forum during the winter (and most other) months. We’ve got an opinion and we’re not afraid to voice it. Doesn’t necessarily mean we are right.
    Everyone has a story of the office tipping comp being won by the girl who had moved from interstate and has no idea of AFL. I’ll cast Litza’s rare form into that category.
    I don’t think any of us take ourselves too seriously as “expert” tipsters and yes the results would reinforce that to be true! Everyone has a choice of whether tp pay any attention to these opinions or not.

  37. I look forward to Crios Racing and the banter and having made a point of meeting some of the participants at the races on trips to Melbourne I can say that I would want them on my side if I have to go to war again

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