Crio’s Racing: Mid Winter opportunities for winners

To their credit, the VRC have rebuilt Saturday’s programme, once one of the year’s highlights, after the decline of the jumps left a chasm in bleak July.

A competitive series of “categories” have ensured the kind of depth that punters love and the sort of prizemoney to keep owners and trainers keen…hence the Flemington fields have held up off-peak much better than elsewhere.This Saturday, formerly designated for the National Hurdle, is now “Finals Day” and, though on course public patronage will again be actively discouraged by those behind glass (and likely looking at the bottom of one), the fields are very good throughout the day.

It is to be hoped that another fair track is presented at HQ – Caulfield was again substandard last week – and, although it is frigid and sleet/hail/snow imminent, there’s not been much rain near 3031 lately so it is likely we’ll at least get under way on a Dead/marginal Slow rating.

I’ll give a bit of a cheat’s preview tonight (in a Thursday night rush) to generate some discussion.

R1- Taj Rossi Final for 2yo! Morgan’s on fire. Zebulon (2)

R2- Rivette Final for 3yoF. Toppy short and bad gate.3?

R3- Banjo Paterson for stayers. 7. 3.

R4- Sprint Final. Vain Queen flying.

R5- Silver Bowl Final for 3yo milers. 3 bad gate for odds. Too hard = no quaddy.

R6- Winter Championship Final. A rare, resounding success. 1600m. Do we try Ringo again?

R7- Creswick Final for 3yo 1200m. Bottom 2 the fancies. 7 definite value.

R8- Leilani Final for mares. Excellent finale named for mighty champ. 7.

The 30,000+ crowds of yesteryear will never again pour out of the trains and trams next to the Maribyrnong, but at least the authorities have found a mid-winter focus to satisfy the Industry’s incessant greed.

The resultant problem, of course, has been what to do with that “problem child”, the Jumps – and especially how to monitor a patient on life support without giving those baying for blood the excuse to terminate. The answer in recent years has been Sandown on Sunday – very “off broadway”. It is, as I commented last year, a funny kind of solution, moving from the flat, wide terrain of HQ (essentially a boring and safe course) to the more challenging hills and turns out in the rainbelt. But it is pretty much there or nowhere.

So the zealots from both camps (realistically, not many on either side) head down the Princes Highway for the Crisp Steeplechase and Grand National Hurdle (200k if you don’t mind) this week and for the GN Steeple in another fortnight. Bashboy looks a monty over the bigger obstacles – he’ll be 1/3 and rightly so. The Hurdle will attract interest as the mighty Gotta Take Care attempts to carry 71kgs and further enhance his legacy – he’s been a seriously good horse and has earned over the mill. Like all public servants, the authorities will be happy for the time being if nothing happens!…such is the tenuous state still of the “game”, especially with the great defender, Premier Napthine, distracted and perhaps soon disenfranchised.

Let’s hope for a good weekend’s racing, despite the dire (weather) portents and the sometime suspicion that naysayers are perched for a squawk should anything go amiss on Sunday – maybe they should have a look at this extraordinary clip. Unbelievable.

Good luck!

(and for those real keen, follow the results from the great Newmarket (UK) gallops held tonight. One of my favourite meetings ever attended and always a mark of a good horse.)



  1. I’ve never understood extremists of any sort. How can the animal rights nutters not know that if they weren’t jumping they’d be in a can or a craypot? I think we ought to give the jumpers a referendum on which they prefer.
    Jumps racing is a great spectacle, and a much better punting medium than moderate flat races. The good ones dominate over the sticks.

  2. Probably right Peter, though I’m not sure your header is exactly the tone of this piece! Did you look at the link? Now there is a near calamity.
    Horses, i reckon, tend to like to jump. If they don’t, they won’t.
    Some tracks/jockeys/vested interests try to make them do so quickly. Therein lies the dilemma. No one, other than camera vultures, likes to see a fall. They happen.

  3. Loved the link Crio! Anyone else who takes a look, stick with it – the real action starts around 1:20. And it looks like this wasn’t deemed a no race!
    Yes – we go back to the well on Ringo!

  4. Skip of Skipton says

    First time they tried jumps racing there?

  5. Classic.

    Love when the two horses come flashing across like a car chase scene from a ’50s movie.

    Simply outrageous.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    If the results shown against that link are correct (my French ain’t good) it looks like there was a third place getter also.

  7. cowshedend says

    Jesus, if the French had used that course layout as part of their defences in 39, the Germans might have missed them completely.

  8. cowshedend says

    Crio, great card at HQ, and so many chances with tough drwas from the tricky mile and 7f starts .
    r2 dig a pony would have been half its quote had it not been for the draw, Kona, for Boss/O’shea comes down in form and gets a great gate to boot.
    Ringo was grinding hard last start and gets another good gate to jump and run, extra furlong will help but nearly the hardest race for the day 3,4,5,9 all have good chances, with Trie and Tired the one with the best draw, but first try at the trip.
    Will have a little go at Weir’s thing in the last, Atlantis Dream, hoping Lane can get him across from its crap gate, he rode Pillar of Creation like Pike last week, and he is as good as anyone when he’s going

  9. The last three races are tempting. In the Winter Championship there is a lot to recommend both The Cleaner, and Akavoroun. Next up in the 3YO old sprint, Brett Cavanoughs, The Monstar, is of interest. In the last i’m hoping Waitaha Prophecy can run a good race, be placed, but she’s been up for a while.

    Happy Punting,


  10. Im heading north for the sun leaving the boggy SA tracks alone and saving up for Spring when the tracks improve and so do my selections
    Never fear Iwill be logging into whats going on around the traps from time to time – keep the faith guys

  11. Holy cow Crio, that makes the Grand Annual at Warrnambool look like the lightning stakes. Amazing stuff!

  12. I think Ringo can’t be beat

  13. cowshedend says

    Good onya Oges, wise move gunna be crap here tomorrow too,
    Glen, that Monstar has a huge chance

  14. Forecast remains dire – downgraded to hail and 11 – but we’ve had virtually no rain here in flemington and doubt they’ll risk watering. Might be a fair track for punters initially.
    Haven’t looked around the country to see if there’s any other notable meeting.
    Darwin R3 No1 might be one for Budge – big punting ownership too.

  15. Chalkdog says

    As Rob Sitch once said, “You’ve done it again..”

    What were they thinking. It looked like a cross between eventing, steeplechase and bob down tiggy. Good/Bad news on weather front…20mm expected in eastern subs tomorrow [so double that for Sandown] however only a few drops expected in the west so you may be cold but dry….go well

  16. Crio,
    I hope the dam of Smudger has 25 foals as there are plenty of options for names. Send her to Foreplay to multiply the possibilities.
    Give me your best suggestions of names. By Foreplay out of Blow.
    I’ll kick off with False Start.

  17. MR3 No15

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