Crio’s Racing- Monash Stakes

It seems like ages since we’ve been to Caulfield, a very comfortable venue for this Saturday’s Monash Stakes meeting. Whilst my workplace welfare is important to me, let’s hope for all that the track can offer an even racing surface such as that which was presented for punters at Flemington last week. The lead up weather had been difficult, but none of the threatening rain arrived and, with cyclonic winds battering Melbourne, watering was unadvisable and probably ineffective. So, whilst we froze in the disgraceful betting ring, the track was, I must concede, excellent – and, note, ultimately a Good 3!

“Luddites” who’d long decried any watering once again emboldened their claim. I was reminded of an excellent recent article in Britain’s “Racing Post” where columnist and jockey Richard Hughes, amongst other points in a piece entitled “Obsession with watering is ruining our tracks”, argued…

“If you pour water slowly down a pane of glass it will not run down the glass in a straight line but will instead run left and right. So it is with racecourses. The water finds the spots it wants to find and when that happens you are left with a track full of ridges. Over time the ridges have become increasingly pronounced and that has left us with a situation where tracks have become dangerous.”

The Valley was terrible a fortnight ago and, in the past, Caulfield has copped plenty of criticism for racing “lanes” and “patterns”. We shall watch with interest.

Trainers and owners, of course, naturally do not want horses jarring, especially as some are making early, tentative steps towards lucrative dreams. Robbie Laing, for one, has longer term plans for some of his, including the fav for the day’s feature (MR6, G3, WFA, 1100m), the brilliant Lord Of The Sky (8), and his “Cups import”, Kindergarten Kid, which makes an Australian debut over an unsuitable 1400m (MR5, No1).

It looks a tough card for those wanting a try on Saturday, but it is definitely time to buy a new black book and start eyeing off those for “later on”.

One aspect that does sustain interest at this time of the year is the “Premiership race” as the season comes to its close.

Katie Mallyon stole the lead today (Sandown) in the Melbourne Apprentices’ title, one that will likely remain undecided until the final day. Olly will win our metro tally, D.Yendall the country prize and B.Rawiller the overall “winningest”. D.K.Weir will sweep the floor in the Trainers’ category.

Although C.Waller has the Sydney trainers’ prize sewn up, Nash Rawiller will need to withstand a rally from James McDonald to secure another premiership.

Tony Gollan and Michael Cahill are probable Brisbane premiers, whilst Phillip Stokes and Matthew Neilson will win the Adelaide titles (and, yes, the great W.A.Pike has his Perth prize secured!).

Nationally, Greg Ryan (with a big cloud over his head at the moment) holds a slender advantage over Yendall and Brad Rawiller.

Hopefully I get time to study some form and join some discussions over the next couple of days. Thanks to Budge for the “nearly” mail last week – the winter strike rate of our contributors is pretty impressive.

Thanks…and good luck!



  1. If the gallops can’t get your attention, note there are half a dozen group Ones at the Melton trots on Saturday night…something to flick over to when the footy gets boring.

  2. post-script…Greg Ryan got 6 weeks and, subject to appeal, will not figure in national jockeys’ premiership finale. I can’t work out how/why a bloke can ride hundreds of winners in a season and want to pull one up. There has to be a bigger story.

  3. cowshedend says

    Crio, as you mentioned Melton, was wondering if there has been a greater fall from grace than the ‘Cheats on seats’?
    The Trots once rivalled the gallops for interest levels. Attendances were huge, bookmaker numbers were in the hundreds at the Showies and the Valley, Saturday nights Penthouse Club was an institution, going to the old Rimfire totes and filling out the paper slips, if you happened to fluke a winner through the genius of B.Gath or G.Rothaker, you couldn’t collect till Monday.
    Taking the Monday off to head to the Kilmore Cup (which i reckon at one time had the biggest prizemoney of any provincial cup of any code in the land), to watch Pure Steel get the chockies.
    Names like Minuteman, Reichman,Paleface Adios,Pure Steel, Maori’s Idol,Court Jester ets filled the columns of the sports pages, but those days are well gone, and the dishlickers have taken over as the second code for turnover.

  4. cowshedend says

    Budge, great mail last week with Ringo, very stiff.
    How hard the Heath tomorrow? Quaddy looks near impossible. Rail out 9 on a slow 7 with rain about, likely to see horses on the pace but one or two off the fence being in the best position.
    Ciaron Maher’s horse in the last Marksmanship ticks a lot of boxes, likely to take up a forward spot from the gate, without a lot of pace in the race, will be near impossible for anything back in the field to make ground.
    African Pulse should figure as well, likely to get a nice cart along, has a great first up record and loves the cut out of the ground

  5. Off to Corowa on Monday. TAB meeting, 8 race card. Unsure re weather. It’s been wet up there recently, and talking to the cousin in Wagga,, she say’s it’s still very wintery. Track at Wagga last Monday was heavy 9, Albury a few Mondays prior was abandoned. Touch wood.


  6. Dense fog up there yesterday Glen, keeping everything soggy. I suspect the Freyer camp might be targeting Corowa. Enjoy!

  7. It’s not much fun at the beach when it’s wet and cold and the message today is the locals will be around the mark e/w on a hard day at Morphettville. Which one will win will be a raffle. It can’t be too much fun either being a trainer in winter as DJ heads up to the Pt Augusta on Sunday for the Cup meeting
    Have a good day at Corowa Glen and keep warm and beating dehydration Crio

  8. Ta gents. It’d be good if the Freyer stable was going well but they have just three runners on Monday, two very green maidens, and a jumper in the mixed class1/maiden race. I might focus on the runners trained by Brian Cox, Brett Cavanough, and ithat most intrigungly named horse,”fill the fridge’ which i’ve had at Avoca. It’s a few miles from the Avoca track to the Corowa track, but he’s won for me in the past so i’ll stick with him.

    Happy punting,


  9. One other horse at Corowa i’m intrigued in is the top weight in R6, the Dave Heywood trained April Rose. Great start to her career, first eight races, six wins, with two placings, then a couple of bad runs in Melbourne. Recently won a trial in Wagga; see how she goes here.


  10. Cowshedend,
    The “red hots” were probably just the right product for it’s time. As much as I’d love to be at the Valley tomorrow night (where they’d get maybe 5000 rather than the 1500 max at Melton) it is, unfortunately, too late to turn back time. The trots were a phenomenon which, I reckon, capitalised on being under lights when other sports were all competing for Saturday arvos. Day time trots were never as exciting. Tracks were small and thus the atmosphere was electric. The Showgrounds venues across the country were working class, inner city, easily accessed – in Adelaide, at Wayville, Friday nights even meant first crack at the week’s paycheck. Stables were nearby – imagine the rates on that land nowadays?- developers drool. The economics just don’t work. SA Trots made their fateful move 40 years ago. The trainers had stables adjacent to the track. They felt somehow in control after being subject to tenancy stresses. Crowds held for a while but it was doomed. There are no bookies at Globe Derby and no patrons. Nor can they possibly hope to invent any spin to reinvigorate a physically and culturally fringe activity. Standardbreds are cheaper to train and will retain a place on farms and country towns. In the mainstream, the “crims on rims”
    are gone. The move to Melton was ridiculous – the exit from MV had some support but the decisions made with regard to future development were disastrous. If trots are destined for TAB and TV, as seems the case, prospects are poor. The dishlickers have cut in to their share. all we have are great memories of fantastic events – Poppy v Gamma…..
    I worry that Racing administartors are not watching and learning from the demise of a once important sporting and betting medium. Ignore at their peril.
    Next week I might post a warning from exactly 40 years ago in Racetrack magazine.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says


    Canny analysis of the decline of the trots.

    In Adelaide, Globe Derby was on the right side of town for me and yep, no other sport on at night in the 70s/80s, so down Kings Rd onto Pt Wakefield Rd and there I was. There was one year I was so keen that I would catch the train from Elizabeth Oval to Greenfields Station and walk the rest of the way. Ten dollars in my pocket, free admission if I said I was under 15, $1 a race on the tote because a schoolmates mum worked one of the windows, a shepherds pie for dinner, bus back to Gepps Cross, then the 504 bus home. Hmm, no wonder my Matric results weren’t as good as they should have been.

    What’s the public transport to Melton like?

  12. Swish, that is remarkable commitment, and befitting a Centrals fan…it seemed miles from the road to the track at GDP. The best part, of course, was the pie from the vendor outside the gate after the last.
    My Dad always liked to go home between races and trots no matter how little time there was – many of the bookies would go, I seem to recall, to the Cavan?

  13. cowshedend says

    Swish, ‘whats the public transport like to Melton?’…… dangerous!
    45 km’s from the cbd

  14. Skip of Skipton says

    Great summary of where the trots are at crio. They were the stand-alone night sports event there; now fri/sat night footy has been around for a time, sports on tap 24/7 from around the globe, casinos, pokies etc.

    I remember my late uncle’s kitchen wall chocka-block with photos of the winning bush trotters he owned and trained with his son in the ’70s/’80s. Most of them called ‘Fiery’ something. They trained them on the track around the Noorat footy/show ground and I remember riding up front in the sulky face first into the arse of something related to Gammalite. My cousin was related through marriage to the O’Connors of Gammalite fame blah, blah. blah. A time past. None of the next generations are involved in the game. A few dabble in Thoroughbreds. Most of them live in a city.

    Consider Gammalite being the first harness horse to win a Million bucks in 1983. That’s only three years after the King and the Man were the first gallopers to earn that coin. Gives you an indication of the strength of the trots back then.

  15. cowshedend says

    Skip, Terang still has the ‘home of Gammalite’ sign as you enter town, as does Bathurst with Hondo Grattan and Kilmore with Poppy, again surely the mark of the sports popularity, when towns identities were based on standard breeds.

  16. Still some familiar names involved, Skip….Sugars, Gath, Demmler, Webster, Aiken, Justice…

  17. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says


    Yeah, tongue was firmly in cheek, I moved to Melbourne 20 years ago today.


    Yep, always a good night if there was some coin left for a pie on the way out. Once married, we’d still go there for a night out, having a bite to eat with my grandfather and his brother, the 70-something course detectives, before the first.

    Might have been the Cross Keys Hotel for the bookies, which Lindsay Head ran for a while.

  18. There’s another blast from the past, Swish. I remember when Lindsay (#17)’s daughter, was it Sheree(?), started driving…nice girl – think they were part of the My Gal Sal team?

  19. No, not the Cross Keys…none of us were tough enough to go there and it was on the wrong side of the road on the way out to Globe Derby.
    The Cavan was well patronised and sometimes when races were at the Park we went to the Talbot where their menu came from Georges, next door. The food at Globe Derby was actually pretty good and we also used that quite a bit, for some reason we didn’t have high expectations but it was fine.
    Crio, on the ball with the ladies… I recall Sheree Head had a lot going for her..

  20. good…

  21. Nostalgia rules on Crios Racing (Memories)

  22. Skip of Skipton says

    I was talking about the generations of my uncles lineage who have dropped out crio.
    He had 20-odd grand kids and at last count they have about 40 progeny, none of whom are into the trots.

    Here’s one:

    Welcome to Beeac. Home of Rufus Youngblood.

    1987 horse of the year. Sign was still there last time I drove through.

  23. 72 – Welcome Advice (Junee?); 73/74 Hondo Grattan (Bathurst); 76 Carclew (the ‘kid’ Chris Lewis from Adelaide was allowed to dawdle in front while Pure Steel/Don’t Retreat etc watched each other at the back – I was there and on Pure Steel); 79 Rondel was a Kiwi roughie that also led; 83/84 the tough as teak Gammalite from Terang; 86 the Freo butcher wins with Village Kid and Chris Lewis in the gig again; 88/89 the outsiders of the all conquering/all juiced Knight stable from Kilmore won. After that the big commercial stables take over the Inter Dom.
    My best memory of Gammalite is the SA Derby when I expected it to be 1/2 and there was something from Kilmore called Popular Alm off a C1 that was 6’s into 5/2 and Gammalite got out to evens that I lashed into. Gammalite got straight to the death as usual and Poppy was out the back, and stormed home but no cigar.
    Poppy is the best I ever saw but his racing manners got him beaten in the big ones a few too many times.
    Geoff Webster the best ever reinsman from Gavin Lang – both cold drivers who never panicked and always had something in the last 100 metres.

  24. Peter, I well remember Welcome advice winning in front of 33,000 at Albion Park. I reckon the aforementioned MyGalSal may even have been in that race. Here’s a paper cutting to fuel the memories…Red Vicar backed off the map, little Monara leading, Reichman and Manaroa (with its low head) staking claims and then Welcome advice being too strong. I recall them racing clockwise and being surprised to see, a couple of years ago, that Brisbane trots, like elsewhere in australia, now go “left handed”. When this change occurred I have no idea – is all Australia anti-clockwise nowadays?,1456773

  25. Some great memories there!
    Poppy and Maori’s Idol were the best for mine. They were generally only beaten by pilot error. Incompetence (B Healy) and Ego (V Knight).

    Moving on to today’s racing. I seem to recall a handy sprinter by the name of Lankan Rupee being given the snip and improving out of sight. Don’t be surprised if the same op has a similar effect on African Pulse. I can’t come at LOTS at the WFA.

  26. Had a nice day @ Corowa on Monday. Didn’t see any runners likely to salute in the big smoke. A couple of city winners ran around. April Rose continues to disappoint finishing well back in the sprint, with ‘old’ Soward being placed in his run.

    A couple of young hoops with city form rode on the day, with Kayla Nisbet, John Kissick and Jake Duffy, all on track, Kissick claiming the honours with a double. Two older hoops Michael Travers, and Matthew Cahill made the four hour drive down from Cowra, Travers getting a winner in R 7.

    No more Corowa races until November, so i’ll just go elsewhere. Happy punting.


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