Crio’s Racing: Magic Millions

This is Magic Millions week. The MM and the Gold Coast are a perfect fit… add Singo and Gai and the formerly “off peak” timeslot has become a favourite “busman’s holiday” for much of the Industry.
Hyped sales, restricted races with huge purses and the sunny lure of a glitzy resort is seemingly an irresistible package – many claim it as a “must” before returning to the challenges of another Autumn.
For punters left behind at Flemington, interest in the event will centre on Rick Hore-Lacy’s precocious Clevadude and its hopes from the visitor’s gate (18) in the rich $2m 2yo MM Classic. Early markets indicate that his winning chances have been severely dented, whereas the odds for the other main fancy, Clarry Connors’ Assail, have tumbled despite, by my reckoning, C.Williams also facing a tricky draw from the pole. There’ll be plenty of speculation on roughies but it really is a raffle – with a terrific prize for the winning ticket. Always good theatre.
Back at HQ we are in holding pattern whilst the big guns start to trial and map out programmes for the upcoming features. But the Quaddy still pays on 4 winners so let’s look for a dividend…
MR5- Comedy King Handicap (1600m)
Very open. Some poor value. Include 8 Zabisco (G.Boss 7/1) and even 14 Laspiel (20/1). Maybe top 2.
MR6- Chester Manifold (Listed, 1400m)
Overrated race. Too many heartbreakers, leaving the 7/4 about British General looking OK.
MR7- Tauto Handicap (1200m)
Here’s a race name that deserves indulgence, hopefully inspiring contributions. Tauto was an outstanding warrior, winner of the 1971 Cox Plate and twice hailed in the Freeway Stakes (see endnote) . I only just remember him, mostly I thought as a big weight carrier. I know that the mighty Dual Choice was something of a nemesis…he ran second at Flemington to her in a Craven “A”, a Lightning and a Craiglee. I’d love to know more of his record and whether this is an appropriate salute for Dunkeld’s finest.
2,6 and probably several others in a tricky race.
MR8- Straight Draw (1800m)
Looking for value. 4 He’s A Steal (14/1). 6 Heez Notorious (10/1). 3 Backbone (6/1).
The Melbourne metrop meeting is a bit of a “filler”, but there’s still plenty to discuss and enjoy for those who love “the game” and comments are invited on a range of matters – the Sales and, indeed, the validity of the MM concept; potential pathways for stars in the upcoming Autumn classics; recommendations for meetings to attend during the rest of the holiday season (Yea on Saturday and Balnarring on Sunday are beauties this weekend!).
Good luck if you are having a try.

note- The Freeway Stakes was inaugurated in 1968 when the “Tulla” was opened along the eastern border of Moonee Valley. Nowadays it is the Group One Manikato, renamed for the Champ who won in 1979 and 1982. It was a great race from inception…check the first page of its honour roll –
1968 Winfreux
1969 Vain
1970+71 Dual Choice
1972 Century
1973+74 Tauto


  1. When I think Tauto, I also think All Shot. Reckon they were pretty strong rivals in the day. Elvis will know.
    For some reason I thought Lord Dudley won the 1st Freeway. Maybe he won 75 or 76?

  2. Think Lord Dudley was after Tauto

  3. Skip of Skipton says

    Lord Dudley did win in ’75. The mare that was second to Tauto in ’74, Love Aloft, was owned later in its life by my brother as a broodmare (without much success).
    It had bred a Queensland Oaks winner (Look Aloft), but was a bit old and clapped out, with only one eye also, by the time he got her.

    Speaking of the Magic Millions, here’s a colt my nephew picked out at the MM ready to run sale, and bought with Richard Freyer. I don’t think it’s named yet, so I will suggest Alamanacker or maybe Crio to him.

  4. Right you guys – as the “senior member” of this forum I have enough trouble remembering things I have to do today let alone what was running around in the 70s so I can contribute zero. And as for the late 60s I was doing Nasho and I can tell you racing was furthest from my mind especially in 68
    However to see Budge pop his head over the ramparts means Elvis may do a Lazarus this week

  5. Any Thursday punters have a look at the outstanding Gosford meeting…3 black type races. Twilight times.

  6. Crio,

    To me, Tauto symbolizes a special era for sprinters. I was 17/18 then and just couldn’t get enough of it. My pre desperate days.

    Tauto went around on a regular basis in all the Group 1 and 2 sprints with the likes of Century, Zambari, All Shot, Acidity, Coolalinga and my pin up boy at the time, the flashy Better Boy entire Prize Lad.

    If I could get my hands on a working time machine, I’d lob back then.

  7. While we’re all reminiscing, one of my favorite sprinters was Scamanda in the 70’s who also won the Freeway and plenty of other good races ( Craven A stakes as well I think).

    I was just stopped in my tracks by reading that Elvis had “pre-desperate days”, hard to imagine but I do remember him having some great results over the years, in particular getting the last fourtrella in Adelaide that was paid on the second horse in the last leg because no one had the winner, about 10K if I recall correctly.

    On to Flemington, there were a couple of good runs recently that are in on Saturday. Adjuster in the last race was a great run after getting back near last, Drawn better this week will be a great chance to take up a position and be hard to beat. The other one that I like is Red Rain as I didn’t think he liked being on the inside at his last run and drawm 11 down the straight should suit currently 12/1 looks OK to me. Also like Over Quota in the 5th as was 3 deep no cover all the way last time and previous form was very good.

    Anyone see the 2yo Miracles of Life in Adelaide, looks like the best produced from here since New Atlantis to me as it could have won by 20 evn though the opposition was probably poor.

    Happy punting.

    Good luck.

  8. Jock,

    Yeah, Scamanda was a ripper, another flashy chestnut with a big white face. Prince of Baden from Pinanda from memory. The good filly at the same time was Vicenza.

    Thanks for reminding me I had a good win once. I remember that day. I had 7 horses in the last leg, and they ran 2nd through 8th. I threw the ticket in the gutter outside the TAB at the Bay, only to get home and hear on the radio that they were paying on 2nd, Blackjack Queen I think. Hasted back and found the ticket.

    I will try your tips, I reckon you’re a good judge. I have only had a cursory look thus far, but with a poofteenth of luck, War Charm wins the last at Rosehill. Was nominated for the Tauto at Flem also, but they have opted to stay in SyDEney.

    Good punting to you too old mate, and thanks for the memories.

  9. Jock- spot on with Miracles of Life . A future champion and one for us all to follow
    May sneak to Strath and watch a few races Sunday as its Cup Day
    Elvis good to see you return with your memories -did you pick any likely ones from the Magic Millions?

  10. oges,

    I got a copy of the MM catalogue and my initial felling was that of depression. Nearly every lot is by a champion sire or well a credentialed Freshman out of a group winner or group producing mare.

    How can a bloke compete with the Coolmore and the Arrowowfields etc?

    But after a few wines and a couple of whiskys, I started to recount all the expensive flops and conversely, the good horses born of humble beginnings who changed the lives of their battling owners. Like Tauto for one.

    Iv’e got a ticket in the battlers stakes, and while my tenuous grip on optimism is held in place with hops and rye, I’m pleased to be a minute part of this great industry.

    Anyway, enough crap, yeah Miracles of Life was as good a win as you will see on a racetrack. The only reason she might not be spoken of in relation to BC, is probably her somewhat diminutive stature. If she was half a tank, the comparisons would be viral.

    I’ll be ding the form tonight, but I haven’t backed a winner for what seems like an eternity, but If I find something for you to put a line through and save on your outlay, I will let you know.

  11. Elvis,
    should I have begun my MM Sales preview with…

    “David Copperfield utilised desirable locations, grand theatre, celeb endorsements and the “tricks” of magical illusion to create his financial phenomenon.
    Style, style, style…over substance?”

    Q1- The MM template is not entirely original but it pays. Discuss.

  12. Thanks Elvis- I looked at prices paid and thought this is the domain of the rich (not a retired bloke who likes to keep some good SA shiraz on hand)
    After the meeting in Melbourne before Xmas Day (thanks to Crio for ticketing etc) I have been an interested onlooker but will arc up and get a bank for Strath ..?
    I suppose you are back at work Jock keeping the wheels of Govt ticking over and will have something e/w on your tips

  13. Prices are high at the Sales…or at least that is how it appears!

    Elvis- are you sure that story did not end with you throwing the ticket away and later hearing Slug giggle at how he found a bounty?

  14. Crio,

    That’s how I located the ticket. I followed Slug, waited till he spotted something, yelled “look, a Unicorn” and grabbed the unclaimed winning Fourtrella ticket.

    Sharp as a bowling ball.

  15. Magnificent work Elvis – back at your peak. I would have more expected that you got 3 legs and a 2nd the week after they stopped paying on the consolation! Then again there was this Cox Plate trifecta one day…..

  16. haha
    What about some tips?
    The rail is a query as it is TRUE again at Flemington. Look for a pattern and respond accordingly (that reads like a dodgy horoscope).

  17. Budge,

    Thanks for dragging up the successful 18th versus 2nd protest in the 92 Cox Plate. You just single handedly erased the warm emotions that Jocks reminiscence of Maluckyday evoked.

  18. That’s what I’m here for mate. To try to bring you back into the earth’s atmosphere.
    I don’t like the 2 favs in 2YO MM due to barriers so am left with Real Surreal. Like all of them will need some luck in the straight.

  19. I know D Gauci is not the glamour boy he once was but instead of riding at Werribee on Sunday where there are 8 race of min $17k (2 of $30k), he is going around at Hobart. He has 6 rides max prizemoney race is the Brighton Cup of $20k. How the mighty have fallen! I know its probably 30 years ago now but he was the best apprentice I’ve ever seen.

  20. Also similar prizemoney on offer at Kyneton and D Gauci still has to go to Hobart to get a ride!
    From what I can see he has only 1 ride tonight at Cranbourne and I can’t see him riding anywhere at all on Saturday.

  21. Budge,

    I will see your D Gauci apprentice, and raise you Stanley Aitken.

  22. Budge,

    Here’s a quinella, David Gately’s speed maps and cock flavoured lollipops.

  23. The Gauch has had a good year of riding mostly front running winners…and so often in the “get out”.
    Had a win on Testaguy @ 7.5 in his only ride, R3 Mornington today.

  24. What did “The Gator” ever do to you Elvis?
    And did you mean choc flavoured?

  25. Budge,

    I meant “As useful as a COCK flavoured lollipop” He’s all right I guess.

    Along with your Real Surreal in the MM Thing, I am going to try Calcatta. By Tale of the Cat (As is your tips sire) out of a very good stout sort of NZ family with Marscay and Sir T in the mix. R Smerdon is in career best form I reckon, and for Crio, races in the Footerscray colours. Shocker barrier, but at $51, I will punt on luck.

  26. Blah blah blah barrier 20!

  27. “punt on luck”
    You don’t keep a diary?

  28. Budge and Crio,

    Appreciate the positive feedback. I’m trying here.

  29. Sorry for the lack of positive re-inforcement there Elvis. Just struggling to see how the combination of breeding, trainer’s form and Footscray colours will help it get across from barrier 20. Please feel free to enlighten us!

  30. Budge,

    I don’t speak pragmatic well, but all I am trying to relate is that the horse has the right credentials, in my opinion to win the race. She has drawn barrier 20 (outside, to the right, of the horse in barrier 19) which is most likely a disadvantage.

    I am punting with luck in running, her starting gate of twenty (20) offsets her starting price, which would be considerably shorter if she had drawn, say, barrier 5.

  31. Thanks Elvis. Depends which way you look at it as to whether it is to the left or right of barrier 19. Either way, if it had barrier 5 it had a chance (admittedly much shorter odds).

  32. Skip of Skipton says

    Go for it, Elvis.

    I recall the great Phelan Ready way out the back, one of the last around the turn, screaming home to win the MM at 100/1. It’s not unprecedented.

  33. Budge,

    As a fledgling pragmatist, how does this sound. Calcatta has barrier 20, when 5 would be ideal. I f she drew barrier 5, she might be 10 to 1. Given she is currently paying $51, I am giving away 15 barriers for 40 more points. I’m 25 in front.

    Leave you with it.

  34. You can’t eat value Elvis. The question is- can it win?

  35. …and are you still tipping Phelan Ready, Budge, which is a terminal muncher and selected again tomorrow?

  36. …and, as well as finding some winners for tomorrow, has anyone unearthed Tauto’s record?

  37. Budge,

    1970 VATC Invitation Stakes
    Pr 7F
    1970 VATC Toorak Handicap
    Pr 8F
    1970 VATC Victoria Handicap
    Pr 7F
    1971 MVRC Alister Clark Stakes
    Pr 8F
    1971 MVRC WS Cox Plate
    Pr 10F
    1971 VATC Invitation Stakes
    Pr 7F
    1971 VATC JJ Liston Stakes
    Pr 7F
    1972 VATC JJ Liston Stakes
    Pr 7F
    1973 MVRC Freeway Stakes
    Pr 1200m
    1974 MVRC Freeway Stakes
    Pr 1200m

  38. What is the Principal Race category and when was it usurped?

  39. What did I miss out on last night turning the Computer off and going to the neighbours – but he has better plonk than me
    Elvis vs Budge (scores level at this point) – Vintage stuff and with Crio chirping in the background

  40. Crio,
    Races used to be either stakes (or pattern) races or not and it was not until around late 70s/early 80s that the Group and Listed race designations were adopted world-wide.

  41. fav out of the MM

  42. Crio,

    Might have found one. I reckon the theory that Syd trained horses go well down the straight carries some water. Deceiver in the 7th is in smart hands in Danny Williams, and I think he is a big chance. The trainer dually accepted in the same race with War Charm but opted to run him at Rosehill.

    Calcatta is now out of 18. Now that sounds better.

  43. Looks a good chance in a tough race – Deceiver 6.6 on Betfair currently.
    Ridden by the Impaler (V.Duric) so probably has to carry Oges as well as you Elvis!

  44. Elvis is the King- you should be at Parkes this weekend ( Temperature 43C) with all the other Elvis fans

  45. Oges,
    While you have rightly lauded Elvis as The King (for this week anyway – notwithstanding his MM rant), please note I did actually tip the MM winner (see above).

  46. My only “poor” excuse is that bowls have started again and it was all I could do to concentrate on this on Sat and barely took an interest in the MM but Duric/Elvis’ tip combination sucked me in
    I did tape the races and wonder how anyone could pick the MM winner – ok so its one all now
    Rained all morning here so gave Strath a miss yesterday – much to my pockets delight

  47. I see D Gauci rode the first 3 winners at Hobart on Sunday.

Leave a Comment