Crio’s Racing: It’s Show Time!

Caulfield gets an “extra” meeting this year and I’ve finally realised that the Rupert Clarke Stakes is in fact the modern incarnation of the Invitation/Show Day/Marlboro/EatWellLiveWell etc that was for some time run on the public holiday we have subsequently lost. It has always been a good race – and, yes, the Show starts this week!

Before looking at the schedule for this Saturday, though, there are some observations to be made regarding last weekend’s meetings.

Firstly, there is no doubt that the MRC’s “free” initiative was an outstanding success. There was a really big crowd at Caulfield and lots of “new” faces. Worryingly, some reported long queues and high prices at food and beverage outlets – I’d have hoped for extra staff and discounted advance booking incentives to be utilised to lure patrons back another day. Mike Symons, MRC Chairman, has floated abolishing admission charges for public areas in the future. Let’s hope so!

The racing also demands comment. Lion Tamer won the Underwood. Though last year’s VRC Derby winner is undeniably talented, the race again raised eyebrows regarding the dearth of WFA form. Early spring booms are bust…look at Lights of Heaven and, by extension, even Whobe? When Jimmy Choux saluted from NZ, it was easy to surmise that this could be his year. King’s Rose has crossed the ditch and stepped comfortably in to Melbourne Group racing – maybe our lot aren’t much good.

Sydney trainers will certainly hope that is the case as their southern invasion gains pace. There have been some outstanding performances clockwise recently, notably Sincero, whose G1 win now puts him in the frame for greater riches down here.

There’s a consensus that the northern 3 year olds are a good crop. We shall be better equipped to judge next week. Atlantic Jewel, which, after her demolition of a good Valley field a fortnight ago looked easily the pick of local filles, should stamp that status in an excellent fillies race (MR2, 1400m), in which Kneeling and Sharnee Rose look the trifecta fillers. Her other main Thousand Guineas rivals staged a memorable battle last Saturday, with WA’s Bliss Street eventually being awarded the rough house battle after her barnstorming finish. Pundits reckon Hallowell Belle was a certainty beaten. Celebrity Girl was game but that looked far enough for her. Mosheen was good. Hopefully Pane in the Glass comes down as well to add to the mystery.

The visiting colts will provide much of the interest for those visiting the Heath this week and markets for the Guineas should become clearer. Down here the main boom is on Moody’s emerging Moment of Change, which has catapulted in to calculations via Murtoa and Sandown! How could you have it as second fav? Has Amah Rock gone amiss? Odds makers will scrutinise other contenders in the Guineas Prelude (MR5, G3, 1400m), especially Peter Snowden’s well performed Helmet (1), who will head the betting along with ultra-consistent Golden Archer (3) (which will be glad that Sepoy is sticking to sprints). These certainly look to be the main two, with a keen watch on Hayes’ Cross Of Gold (12), which finished like a miler last time here. Craig Williams has stuck with That’s The One (10), a good winner at Flemington and in the firing Alderson yard, but it has yet to see a firm track and might not quite match these here.

The 3y.o. form will be further tested in the day’s feature, the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (MR6, 1400m) in which the Guineas fav, Smart Missile (13), makes his left-handed debut (*note that the other of Rosehill’s 3x3s, Manawanui, is a short quote in the Stan Fox SR2, 1500m).The wraps on A.J. Cummings’ “Missile” are justifiably huge – with “HyperBoss” blowing hard – but from Barrier 17 around the tight turn he’ll be forced to make a late surge with highly fancied Woorim (2), the gun Q’lander under a 57.5 steadier but in great form after a Valley win and out to avenge an unlucky third in this race behind Response last year. There has to be value elsewhere for exotic punters. One option down in the weights is last start G2 Theo Marks (1300m) winner, Master of Design, with Olly up. Another has to be Blackie (11) which just never runs a bad race. At remarkable odds is Silver Grecian (9), first up from a rich Shatin win and good enough to entice D. Beadman down Dandy Rd. It is actually given a good show by those who watch HK form. Another that I will be focusing on during Racing Review is W.Pike’s ride, Dreamaway (14), an outstanding mare that may still be a run short yet could be nevertheless up to these. A fascinating race.

The Quaddy’s 3rd leg is named after dual “Rupert Clarke” winner, Testa Rossa (MR7, Listed, 1200m) who’d lap this mob. If Shrapnel (5) wants to keep up in the Patinack (5/11, Flem) he’ll want to be in the finish of this – I love the Stewards’ Report from his 1st up flop at MV…”not suited by the fast pace..”! An unfortunate flaw for a sprinter; but it was a red hot leaders tilt for Buffering and this should be a better fit for Kav’s blinkered 4yo. The really interesting runner here is Speediness (11), beaten at equal weights last start (14/05) at Scone by Sincero!

The last is a typically tough 1800m Handicap (MR8, 4.58pm). There’s big mail for Midnight Martini (8) but we’ve probably missed the price. Don’t know why he’s got N. Hall up. I’d probably rather go Winged Charm (10) E/W.

I’ve yet to have a real good look at ‘em – no time to get the Winning Post tonight with cricket training! – but am looking forward to any strategies or suggestions. This is that terrific time when so many formlines converge and it can take forever to “sort them out”.

There are some exciting weeks ahead. I love working on the bag (Lillis Kilmartin) but there are times when I’d like to enjoy the other aspects that a day at the races can offer. They are not exclusive to the city clubs. It pays to look at calendars and maybe pinpoint a town which offers something different. Too late for this year, but for example, I am fascinated by the very title of a NSW meeting this week – the Come-By-Chance Picnics (sounds like a swingers’ gig!). The town (pop. 187) even gets a run in a Banjo ballad:

But my languid mood forsook me, when I found a name that took me,

Quite by chance I came across it — `Come-by-Chance’ was what I read;

No location was assigned it, not a thing to help one find it,

Just an N which stood for northward, and the rest was all unsaid.

There are gems like this to be enjoyed everywhere. I’ve added it to my “must do”- check the flyers

Another that I’ve missed is the Listowel Harvest Racing Festival – staged this week and declared as a sporting bucket list by cohorts at the ‘Bool last May. Must be a beauty.

Racing offers a fantastic variety of experiences and even the occasional winner. I’ll be tuned to this site for any tips and shouting the odds out at Caulfield on Saturday. Good luck if you are having a try.



  1. Crystal Lily collapsed and died at trackwork this morning. Jockey G.boss injured his shoulder in the fall and I assume will be unable to pilot Smart Missile at Caulfield.

  2. track will be super firm. Times will be quick.

  3. Crio,

    I have backed Dao Dao in the “Marlboro” No filter, straight out. Hasn’t won since you could smoke on a plane, but he just goes so well in this type of race. Reckon he’s over the odds.

    Also backed Dreamaway in the same race. Couldn’t get a run last start and is a very good mare with a very good mahoot and great WA form. Afilly who wins a Derby anywhere is above average in my opinion. 1400 might appear a bit short, but I am thinking (read hoping) that it might take more of a miler to win it.

  4. That’s the conundrum Elvis. I was speculating on Master of Design in case they dawdle?

  5. rett Prebble coming down to ride the Colt!!

  6. Elvis,
    I’d prefer to see Dreamaway step up in distance- where to next, Turnbull next Sunday?
    I’ll wait for 2nd up Dao Dao. If the fave doen’t win this then almost anything can. Don’t mind Toorak Toff at odds.
    R7 – only 2 chances in my book, First Command (loves Caulfield!) and Shrapnel (2nd up specialist). I see IAS already have Shrapnel $9 into $4.50 so I’ll probably take the $6 the topweight.

  7. not impressed with Speediness, Budge?
    Quaddy…1 and 3 only in the first.
    Wide, including Yosei and 9,11,12 in the Marlboro
    5 and 11
    gulp…4,8,10 in a bad last leg.
    Good punting.
    Winners in Sydney too

  8. be wary reviewing the races today. Big tail wind down the side multiplied by rail possy equalled on pace winners. Some good runs. Some gun rides. I lost. bookies just took the points.

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