Crio’s Racing: It’s back to Flemington

Back to Flemington this Saturday before the Heath hogs the calendar, with HQ’s next fixture then being the greatly anticipated Black Caviar Lightning Stakes on Feb 16. It’ll certainly feel like the Autumn Carnival by then if, as expected, the mighty mare graces the straight.
Meanwhile we are in a bit of a holding pattern, with a disappointing City meeting this week. The worthy “feature” is the Listed, $120,000 Kensington Stakes. This 1000m scurry, however, is marked as Race 3 on the card – only 6 acceptors and a likely long odds-on pop mean it is not a strong proposition for the TAB and its Quaddy pool. I actually reckon that First Command is well unders at $1.65 but I understand the dilemma. What I can’t fathom is why the race is either so badly placed +/or supported by trainers!
The TAB has long had a considerable voice in deciding race times and placements in an attempt to maximize wagering – thus the ridiculous gaps between races each Saturday to allow SKY to do a dash between venues …all of which, it can be argued, deserve and require their “place in the sun”.
The role of the TAB and its future are topics, perhaps, for another day, but it is notable to reflect on one of the TAB’s great administrators and his connection with last and this Saturday’s racing.
The main race last week was named for Sir Chester Manifold, son of a remarkable Victorian and, himself, a key player in 20th Century racing. As recorded on the ARM site:
“Sir Chester is seen as largely responsible for the introduction of the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) in Victoria which he saw as the best means of channeling back into racing the vast sums of money lost to illegal bookmakers. He served as the first Chairman of the TAB (1961-1968) and was held in high regard by all sections of the racing industry.
Sir Chester also enjoyed great success as an owner-breeder. His best-known horse was the outstanding steeplechaser Crisp which was narrowly beaten in the 1973 Aintree Grand National Steeplechase.”
The link to this Saturday is that Chester Manifold is one of two diverse yet prominent racing characters to have been born in Camperdown, the pretty farming centre in the sport’s heartland between Geelong and Warrnambool.
The Camperdown Turf Club hosts its Cup Day and, for those able to make the trip, it will be a fantastic occasion at a really lovely course. I know there are Almanackers who have a special interest in Grandstands and they should note the Heritage listed structure which dominates the track. So many of them are gone but the distinctive Federation style testifies horseracing’s social importance in those times.
The “other” notable racing man from the area is to be recognized by an initiative this year commemorating the district’s most famous hoop, the long serving and recently retired dairy farmer known to all as “Nifty” – Neville Wilson. The leading jockey on the day will be honoured to receive the prize. What punter doesn’t have anecdotes and fond memories of a fella who seems to have always been around? For the record, he lists Redelva as his best mount.
Nifty still rides some work down there for his old mate Geoff Daffy. Hence I’d be keen to have something on the G.A. Daffy runners engaged – Gowana (R1, No9) and Still My Friend (R3, No7). Both of these are to be ridden by AJC Derby winner Rhys McLeod.
The Cup (R6, 1600m, $20,000) is an interesting races and the bookies will be edgy with strong stables such a Tony Vasil (The Wingman)and Darren Weir (Gotta Keep Cool) looking for a sting, whilst the Wilde and the Cerchi boys can never be discounted in important events in the Hampden area.
Great event, good racing – highly recommended. (I expect some of our Knackers to be down there so would love a report).
Of course I’ll be swinging the bag on the Rails at Flemington and taking an interest in the Quadrella.
Any opinions to add?
MR5- 1410m. 11,8,7,16
MR6- 1720m. 1,3,15
MR7- 2000m. 2,3,7
MR8- 1410m. tough. 10,6,11
The Blue Diamond Preludes start next week as racing (and the rest) try to grab some “airtime” before the AFL bulldozer sweeps through the media space. Momentum is building – my punting bank needs to do likewise!
Good luck.


  1. G Daffy trained Skipton Town (ridden by Nifty) which inspired Elvis to get the Sydney quaddy last week when Skip Town got up in the last. Strange but true!

    I do recall declaring one Australia Day that it was actually International Redelva Day as I had thought him a good thing and, being a bushie, he was always reasonable odds. Amazingly it saluted!

  2. N.Wilson – a treasure.
    Love those meetings through the districts. Have an ambition to get to Casterton and Camperdown some day….

  3. Wilson was a treasure but I often won money on Andrew Kermond in this area who cooked hamburgers for his father in Warnambool when not riding.Kermonds Hamburgers were an institution and probably still are
    Casterton race a lot in winter and if you go keep warm but its a good course to view races
    Camperdown has Yendall riding so will have to study his mounts
    (Crio- you have to have a bucket list of places to go and work through them )

  4. cowshedend says

    Budge, remember J.Letts stating after he’d ridden Redelva, that the only time he’d been down the straight six quicker was in the back of an ambulance.

  5. cowshedend,
    Can you reprise your Nifty story?

  6. Crio, a possible reason there is such a small turn out for the Kensington is the fact a far better sprinters race is scheduled 6 days later, at the Valley, where we have the Group2 Australia Stakes. You wouldn’t blame owners, and trainers, for making that their focus for this time of the year.


  7. Yeah Glen.
    The VRC admits it may have erred by changing it to set weights and penalties. The handicappers are skipping it and the better sprinters are waiting for the Valley and beyond.

  8. The Ceduna Cup kicks off the Eyre Peninsula’s W.A.Holland Series for 2013 on Saturday. Naturally Mick Whittle has multiple runners, including defending champ and probable fav Jewel King.

  9. cowshedend says

    It’s a well worn story Crio but here we go, One of my many fruitless equine investments was running around at the ‘Bool’in the mid 90’s , it was my job to pass on info about our fragile conveyance to the hoop who got the gig for the day,in this case it was the wonderful Nifty Nev,who was wearing black shorts on his home track.
    This horse had more priors than the Morans, and it took me 15 minutes to spit them out,The last thing i needed to stress home was that the horse lays in under pressure and that he needs to use the whip in the left when it happens. Nifty ,who was looking straight ahead most of the time and humouring me with the occasional nod,looked staright at me and said “Na, i’m a spastic with the whip in the left!”, he gave me a wink hopped on board and duly saluted.
    Should be put in a glass case next to Phar Lap, a jockey who’d forgotten how to lie and didn’t care much for p#ssing in your pocket!

  10. Great yarn Cowshedend. It was always good to see in recent years to see “Nifty’ when he had the occasional ride in town. He would duly salute on a regular basis. Good hoop.


  11. Skip of Skipton says

    5f might be a tad short for Good Baa Baa, but it’s better than taking the odds-on.

    Retired Hong Kong champ, Sacred Kingdom, who was bred locally (Kornong Stud, Streatham) will be in attendance at Camperdown. His HK owner has repatriated him back home, which is good to see.

  12. Glen – you are drastically unselling Nifty as a good hoop. A great hoop.

    As for CRISP, pretty sure that was what the TAB’s 1st computer system was called? Obviously another perk of being Chairman of the TAB was to name the operating system after your favourite horse.

  13. Chicken or the egg Budge?

  14. Lovin’ the stories about Nifty. He and Mick O’Leary kept me going on the punt for years, that combination must have had an incredible strike rate.

    Elvis, are you out there: I reckon Gator just hit the mark with protests and the how the goal posts seem to have changed—not a speed map in sight.

    Just been down at the pub and heard that “slug” is in town and been recounting the tale about how he was putting on the $$$ on Dulcify at his 2nd start following the initial win at Morphettville at 300/1. It was Vic Park and W. John ( who had abookies license at the time but really preferred to punt) had instructed him to go and back it for a few grand at 33’s, Slug came back saying “I’ve missed the 33’s, what do you want me to do?” W. John provided the answer”take the 25’s”. Naturally he missed that and it was into 16’s when he came back a third time , missing the odds and W. John told him to forget it but added ” you’re a [email protected]#*ing idiot, what are you?” Slug returned” I’m a f#@*ing idiot”…priceless.

    Good luck to everyone on punt tomorrow, worst fields across the country I can remember for a while but I’ll pin my hopes on Lucky Eighty Eight.

  15. N. Callow treble already tonight.

    Froggy has plenty of rides at Hobart on Sunday. worth a look.
    I see Paddy Payne has given his sis a comeback ride down there. They tend to look after each other.

  16. Its a wonder W John didn’t send the bloke who used to mow his lawns out to back Dulcify. Think he was more trusted than Slug!

  17. Only mail i have for tomorrow is MR4 No4.
    Tipster is very well informed but a shocking punter!

  18. Jock,

    Guls, a freak in every respect. Every other week, your crying in your socks because a “certainty” got beat, or your 1st, 2nd and 4th in a trifecta didn’t change the more you looked at the results and Slug would lob. He He He. Like some sort of character out of a Wes Craven horror movie. He’d won 3 grand on something that had knocked yours off.

    Great days, but shit, that bloke could give you nightmares if you thought about it too much.


  19. Kempy?

    Any tips anyone? I need some things to follow on what looks a lowkey day.
    Should pick up next week with the double header

  20. Crio,

    Got your tip in the 4th at Flemington, but I like Pillar Of Creation. A lot.

  21. Skip of Skipton says

    Freyer has one in at Albury. ‘London” something or other. City winner from the Patinack dispersals.

  22. Skip,
    would that be Albury R6 no4, From London?

  23. Skip of Skipton says

    Nice synchronicity with the 11:00 there crio. Freyer is not training his horses at the moment because the ground is way too hard through the lack of rain. He just wanted to have a look at From London etc. That’s what I’m being told now. Sorry for the bum steer.

  24. notes from Saturday.

    Got talked out of MR4 No4 . Big drifter. Besanko trains first Flemington winner.

    Snowden’s first winner impressive.

    D.T. O’Brien’s hot run continues, notably at Flemington and when Froggy is aboard.

    Oges lives down to his mug self-assessment as he misses backing a V.Duric 50/1 city winner.

  25. Further notes from Saturday
    Didnt back Durics roughie only a few of the ones I thought had a chance- thought it couldnt win
    Wrong call
    Backed a few of Yendalls
    Still lost
    Thrashed at bowls and played like a blind man
    Then to rub it in His Royal Crio send me an email reminding me of the 50/1 pop
    Now all I need is for Budge to get on the bandwagon

  26. Budge is being freshened for Friday night’s Valley meeting (away with family!).

    I got some wisdom from a fella yesterday when I dropped my son off at cricket.
    This bloke’s Dad had taught him about the punt…
    “You can win – but you will lose”.
    It has to be the thrill of the chase or we are doomed.

    Relaunch on Hobart and Ceduna today!

  27. Ceduna was Yesterday – and you are not even old yet. Thought about Ballina and Gordon Yorkes horses but will watch (so knowing my current luck one will win)

  28. I noticed the new edition to the Freyer stable, From London. He’s the sort of horse they require to win the country cups, ie Jerilderie, Berrigan , etc, he might even be a chance for Albury. Over many years, the Freyers, Richard, and his late father Jack , trained many good horses. This includes over a dozen Albury Cup winners, though Richard has not saluted in this race since Personal Image won in 2004. Even back home in Corowa, it’s been lean pickings in the Cup, with Bon Chance the last horse to win from the Freyer stable, way back in 1998. I’ll be there, in Corowa, on Sunday March 9 to watch the Cup race. Let’s see how it pans out.



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