Crio’s Racing: Labour Day weekend 2012

There’s always plenty of racing over the Labour Day weekend. I ran in to picnic bookie Lee Walker out at Sandown yesterday and checked his schedule for the weekend. “Alexandra Saturday and Balnarring Monday.” Great meetings both. Others are heading up to Echuca, reassured by messages that the track and environs are unaffected by the floods. Very few have voiced to me any excitement at the historic first Cranbourne Night Meeting on Friday out at the big racing complex on Melbourne’s S/E growth corridor – apparently the presage to alternate slots next year with the Valley.

My schedule is good also. “Super Saturday” at HQ on Saturday and then over to Morphettville for the Adelaide Cup Day on Monday. There’s no hope of doing all of the form….Warwick Farm’s Chipping Norton meeting also deserves a scan for Saturday….so I’ll be casting a wide net and looking for something to “jump off the page”.

It’s another long day at Flemington, the first of 9 starting soon after noon. Certainly by the Sires’ Produce Stakes (MR3, Gr2, 2yo, 1400m) at 1.15pm punters will be settling in to watch a great card, with most interest in this juvenile’s race surrounding All Too Hard, Black Cav’s relative backing up from a dominant debut win here 3 weeks ago.

The Blamey Stakes (MR4, 1600m, Gr2, SWP) is a typical raffle, remarkably not chosen as a Quaddy Leg. Speediness was good last start and looks the benchmark but you could make a case for a lot of these. Snow Cover at 33/1 might be one to bolster exotics.

The Kewney (MR5, 1400m, 3yo fillies) has a capacity 16 starters and, as I noted last week, the barriers and race pace are crucial to the outcome. Find a leader. One I might be keen to dabble here is Bart’s filly Empress Rock (16), easily spotted in those classic Dato chess board and yellow colours.

I just said to Tommy a moment ago that I’m going to open the Winning Post and spend as long as possible poring over The Newmarket. It won’t do me any good, but it is my idea of joy to be able to try to match up weights and barriers and form and …one drop of rain and the equation tips…a hint of inside v outside tilts hours of analysis! But it really is fantastic to see a capacity field for the classic sprint – a champ at the top of the weights and pesky challengers littered down the order. The weight spread has contracted but it is still a significant 8.5kgs from Hay List to Foxwedge. So what is the strategy? Renowned authority DD puts it thus: “Disregarding his big weight handicap, the Hay List equation is simple. Go through his last dozen or so starts. When Black Caviar’s involved, he doesn’t win. When she’s not there, he does. If BC is the best sprinter in the world, and Hay List is easily the second, surely he can win this despite giving them all weight. $4 looks ok to me.” It’s a strong argument, especially for those of us who saw Black Caviar disregard trivialities like weight disparities last year. But this is a Handicap. I saw Spike Short boot home Razor Sharp twice. The obvious dilemma is that of O’Shea’s Foxwedge. John McNair wanted to scratch his big gelding in protest at the weight differential but, as a punter, I’d hate to have them only 2 points apart. As an interesting aside, there’s mail about that O’Shea’s stable must and will boom now, as he faces oblivion from a court ruling delivered last week. Join the dots! But to argue the respective merits of those horses is to deny the intrigue of searching for a smokey. This will engage me until the gates are closed! What about the mighty King’s Rose, for example. A genuine Gr1 mare and exceptional fresh. But is the lower marble a problem? And, if not, can I mount a case for WA (Placid Ark!) challenger Waratah’s Secret (12) at 50/1 to relish carrying about a stone less than in his noble performances at (not royal) Ascot. If it rains, of course, Temple Of Boom, Rain Affair and others will have supporters. Don’t forget Master of Design or Bel Sprinter!!!…a terrific old fashioned conundrum. After you’ve settled the Hay List v Foxwedge debate, see how much time you have left for this Sudoku. Can’t wait. Hope the toppy brains them to confirm the elite status.

The (Dubai) Australian Cup (MR7, Gr1, 2000m) will almost seem an anti-climax but, despite a fairly small field, this is as good a WFA race as could be mustered. My concerns here are twofold: 1) Is there any pace and thus will it be truly run; and 2) Are some of these looking ahead to the Tancred (2400m, now BMW, in Sydney) and therefore might be a bit dour if it is a sit and sprint? Can I try Glass Harmonium, assuming he will bowl along in front, or simply go with the quality form and choose Americain or Lucas Cranache?

The girls line up for a bit of an “Autumn Myer” in the Schweppervescence Trophy (Gr3, 1600m). I’ll be putting Fashion Black (10) @ 50/1 as a place bet to try to recoup the inevitable damages inflicted by then.

The last race confuses me. It is obvious that I despise these 9 race programs so am not objective, but this (MR8, Listed, 1400m) is certainly one too many for everyone.

I’m only tapping in to the nuances of the long weekend form for race lovers. Certainly there are many imponderables still to be confronted. Like Sydney! Story is that Pinker Pinker is ripe for the Chipping Norton (SR6, Gr1, 1600m). But if the deluge has reached the outer west, many punters will wait for Saturday morning before making a call on Warwick Farm.

No such concerns for me on Monday. Fine and sunny conditions will hopefully lure a good crowd to the Adelaide Cup meeting. They’ve had a few “major” events over there and the SAJC has pledged to return their Cup to later – perhaps its old May day? – but what they do have is arguably the nation’s primary meeting on the Labour Day Holiday (Moonee Valley is no more than a mid weeker) so they should cash in. For the 2 miler, Tanah Lot (12) at 20/1 is certainly the value, though there is serious mail for Norsqui (2). The fav, Drunken Sailor (1) has drawn out on Anzac Highway so it will take another piece of Olly magic to steer him home in this Gr2 feature.

After another 9 races on Monday (Morphettville Rails for Terry Lillis) I expect I’ll have had enough.

But I’m really excited by this weekend’s racing choices. Not working tomorrow (Friday) night, I can sit down and make a serious mess of the form. Any other opinions, as always, will be welcomed.


  1. Great summary and with good jocks aboard good horses it makes for an interesting but difficult punting day.Any reason why Yendall has been replaced on Niwot ?

  2. Towong Cup tomorrow David.

  3. Corect Crio, there’s some good country races this weekend, but for us it’s the Corowa Cup on Sunday. Might make a small investment in Riverina Highway. Happy punting !

  4. How are the conditions up there Glen?

  5. Don’t know Crio. I’ve been in touch with family in North Wagga who are doing it hard, but i’m still here in the Big Smoke. I expect the river to be high, the track dead-slow,as it generally holds water well, and temperatute in the high 20’s. I’ve been to a few Corowa Cups where the mercury’s pushed 40, so i’m hoping it’s a tad cooler. Looking forward to the day, hoping to mainaatin my recent on track form. Last Corowa meeting on 28/1, i doubled my investement on a nice hot, sunny Corowa Saturday, so something similar will be appreciated this visit .


  6. Crio Id love to go to Towong Country races are the best..Glen good luck at Corowa (must get there one day) and hope the flood victims can cope and are getting all the support they can.


    Race 4 – WALL STREET too classy and each way odds!

    Race 6 – a complete raffle – I’ll go with BEADED

    Race 7 – GLASS HARMONIUM to lead all the way but will save on old EFFICIENT back at Headquarters.

    Race 8 – I always fall into LADY LYNETTE and she doesn’t often let me down.

    Race 9 – Haven’t decided yet between YOSEI ($15), LUCKY EIGHTY EIGHT ($15) and BLACKIE ($11)

    Ultra tough program but great to see capacity fields and quality horses running around. See you out there.

  8. Peter Flynn says


    You describe my love of an old-fashioned Newie beautifully.


  9. David Downer says

    “Renowned authority?” …the cheque’s in the mail Crio ..and what a sizeable cheque that will be when Hay List just goes out and brains them (goblets on the line there!). $5 or $6 would be nice.

    Will relay other thoughts via iPhone en route to Headquarters …running laaaate


  10. Dr. Turf has picked Lone Rock in The Newmarket. He is a smerdon man so put it in those bulging multis.

  11. Peter Flynn says


    Race 4 No 6.


  12. John Harms says

    I have seen how the Newmarket will be run, in a vision during the Manly-Wests match late last night.
    4,13,18 will look like the trifecta with 100 to go, but then the Boom and the Fat will alter that. I’m not saying in what order, but you watch.

  13. Skip of Skipton says

    What sickens me is Phelan Ready. I backed him when he won the Slipper. His first up run as a 3yr old, coming a close second to Danleigh in the Manikato at the Valley, was a ripper; Since then he has been pretty much useless. I kept backing him, but this prep I had sacked him. I got the Tri for 50c, WOW! I see the First Four paid 18K! I am a dud, a flop, a schmuck, a putz, and some words that are un-printable!

  14. Peter Flynn says

    I watched this great old-fashioned Newmarket in a fantastic seat about 80 metres from the line.

    What a terrific duel.

    Hats off Hay List.

    McNair, no more hissy fits about ‘weights and measures’.

    Your galloper is a true champ.

    Harmsy, I’m on a bender to rid myself of your vision and my vision.

    What happened at Kardinia Park today?

  15. I didn’t have a zac on Hay List but you couldn’t help go for him about 300m out. What a brave win!! and further validates the “great mare” (like she needed it). I love the Newmarket!!

  16. David Downer says

    Will keep the Hay List head-wobbles to a minimum (yeeee haaaa!!!).

    But what a race, confirms we have two of the best sprinters of all time going around in the same era.

    Flynnie I came a’ searchin’ but was “needle in a haystack” stuff tracking you down! If not a mobile, can you at least avail yourself to say, walkie talkies in the future??


  17. Busy at the stand today, so I can’t wait to sit down later and watch The Newmarket. I think they finished in the Lightning order – w/out the mare of course. Simple, isn’t it?

    DD…pity you missed Flynny. He found us. In Gr1 form.

  18. Skip of Skipton says

    If Black Caviar didn’t exist, we would all be raving on about Hay List. The best sprinter since Manikato and what not, maybe the equal or better. Forget about Schillaci and Hareeba etc, they were nothing compared to Hay List!

  19. Skip of Skipton says

    Great to see the big bloke, Nathan Tinkler, get a good horse. Black Caviar’s half-brother winning the Sires Produce easily. He’s a chance of recouping the shit load of money he has pumped into the game, just through that young horse in stallion fees, I reckon, fingers crossed.

  20. Skip,
    Great odds. I thought he’d be 2/1…I was sold by the hype. Won like a 5/4 pop.

  21. Hay List – champ !
    Quaddy today…did not pay enough,
    But better than nowt !

  22. The non old-fashioned aspect of the sprint was seeing most come down the middle….”under the roses” is decidedly out of vogue.

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