Crio’s Racing: From the Fallen Log

Another landmark day dawns in Sydney with, to be honest, an obscene amount of prizemoney on offer, especially in the $4m QE2 (SR8, 2000m, WFA, G1) – it is hard not to surmise that the same mob would be running around if the stake was quartered! Similarly, the Queen Of The Turf (SR5, 1600m, F+M, WFA), terrific race that it is, has much the same field as we’ve enjoyed in recent weeks, this time with a $1m purse. Still I guess it would otherwise just be wasted on fashion and funk so we just hope that “The Championships” have a trickle down effect to boost an Industry which is struggling at grassroots.

The aim, I guess, was to make a big statement – and money is the most likely attention grabber in Sin City. The meeting itself has some great races as the traditional fixtures are once again rejigged. Easter Monday, once a huge Cup date in the diary, is now a modest Kensington meeting and Saturday’s listing includes:-

SR3- Royal Randwick Stakes (1200m, 2yoF, SWP, G3, $500k)

SR4- Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m,3yo, SW, G2, $500k)

SR5- Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m, F+M, WFA, $1m)

SR6- Australian Oaks (2400m, 3yoF, SW, G1, $1m) – amazed it’s not called the Empire Oaks!!

SR7- Sydney Cup (3200m, H’cap, G1, $1m)

SR8- Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m, WFA, G1, $4m)

Far from reaching to the masses, “Royal” Randwick is schmoozing the top end of town and clinging to its colonial roots. The big money on offer and the attendant Group status will warm the rich cockles of bloodstock magnates – from RacingNSW boss, Arrowfield’s John Messara, right across the Hunter Valley and other wealthy bastions of Thoroughbred breeding.

That notwithstanding, the races are good.

The QE has lost some of its anticipated quality because Fiorente has retired and Dundeel and Boban have been disappointing. The sloppy tracks have undoubtedly affected preparations and form but Silent Achiever has been wonderful and Carlton House served notice last start.

Despite my criticisms, I’d love to be up there but, instead, will have an alternatively excellent time at Oakbank.



  1. Is the Fallen Log still there Crio, or have the politically correct had it put down? I remember as a kid loving the thrill of the jumps at the top of the hill, until I saw one have a bad fall. Gut wrenching.
    But the field would have all been in a can of Pal 3 years earlier without the endurance opportunity of the jumps. Long may they thrive.
    Have a great time with the young ‘uns.

  2. Budge,

    Notice the running of the Elvis “Ricky” Thurgood 34th Anniverasry Plate at The Heath on Monday. Boy, does that name bring back a flood of memories. All unfortunate.

  3. I had completed a preview for the weekend which is marooned on my nephew’s non compliant computer. Hence the somewhat abridged piece above which was still accessible from my phone….probably save us money to not have my ips.
    Main Sprint at Oakbank might be savaged if Riziz tches as rumoured. Most of the day is for stayers.
    200m hurdle.
    3350m steeple
    3600m marathon
    2150m Cup

  4. Peter Flynn says

    Short hurdle Crio.

  5. Sorry Flynny. Using midget phone.
    200m if you tumble at the first.
    Scheduled for 2900m
    Steeplechase is 3250m

  6. Peter Flynn says

    Yes a short run to the first.

    See you at the ‘Bool.


  7. Good.
    Remember a pocketchief

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    Oakbank is high on the Bucket List.

    Two race callers required, carnival rides on the in-field etc. Remember Sir Sagamore dragging his rider over a couple of hurdles, and the horsemanship of a competitor who came to the rescue? Can’t remember their names. Amazing stuff.

  9. cowshedend says

    Nice old Slaughter Bowman on Lucia Valentina in the Oaks, the ambulance driver should have checked him for a pulse at the 400.
    In contrast, ripping ride by Matt Allen on The Quarterback.
    Loved the first at the Heath The Jack Elliott 2yo, brings back memories ofWorld of Sport and his weekly ‘Turf Whinge(comment)” always involved him looking over the bridge of his glasses and bagging the.. VRC..VATC…MVRC

  10. Peter Fuller says

    If I remember correctly,it was Jack Elliott who coined that wonderful pejorative, the “Very Amateur Turf Club”, perpetuated by (among others) the irreverent Triple R racing previewers, Dr. Turf, Slim Whittle and Con Marasco. Little wonder that the Club took the opportunity to change the name when the opportunity presented itself. In an era of journos too pusillanimous to upset the powerful, we can only remember Jack with gratitude. His sprays were invariably considered and thoroughly justified.

  11. Very unimpressed by the ride of Sigrid Carr in the last at Oakbank. If you’re in a seven furlong race it can be hard to win if you’re 20 lengths behind coming into the last furlong and half. A big finish is nice, but us punters get the same return if horse finishes last or sixth. Not happy Jan (Sigrid).


  12. Looked like a day out for Stubby Holder

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