Crio’s racing: New Year’s Day

Unlike sports comps where the slate is wiped at season’s end and they all begin a New Year afresh, no such luxury is afforded punters, who must carry their accumulated debts over the page to the next month and meeting.

There is, however, a renewed spring in many steps as patrons paradoxically make renewed resolutions and then return to familiar surrounds (and inevitable familiar habits) to dust off the Eve’s imbibements.

In Melbourne that has for generations meant the races at Flemington, a fading ritual but one that is still represented by a prestigious double – The Bagot for the stayers (MR5. 2800m. 4 + 12 at E/W odds) and The Standish down the straight for the sprinters (MR6. 1200m. 3 and 10 at juicy quotes).

As usual, old timers wax lyrical about large crowds pouring off the train and on to the lawns for a feature day. Those days are gone forever, but race meetings still get inked on the first page of many diaries.

In Victoria, I recall one year sweltering at Burrumbeet, just past Ballarat, which, now that the lake is full, is again a booming camping site for boating and fishing and the spin-off is that the races have been reinvigorated. Good track. Not too far out of town.  Recommended. Cup R7 1800m. Weiry likely to dominate. Perhaps (4) Heisman for apprentice Harry Coffey.

Of course, there are meetings dotted all over the country including, traditionally, Hanging Rock, where the fields are pretty skinny and Australia Day might be a better time for this iconic venue.

Another tradition which has stood the test of time is the Longford Cup, in good farming country just south of Launceston. Wikipedia cites “The Longford Racecourse is the oldest continuously operating racecourse in Australia. Longford is home to many horse studs and training facilities, and the Longford races are held annually on New Year’s Day, with thoroughbred horse racing and the Elders Webster Longford Cup.” In the Cup (R6) try John Blacker’s (6) The Producer.

But most notably these days is the Jan 1 association with the Perth Cup and a morbid fascination of how the locals can cart their headaches on-course in regular 40+ degrees. It is an infamous race and apparently a ripper day. The main race (R7, 7.20pm AEST) is nowadays 2400m and, though a capacity field, has a collection of mostly “unknowns” to the casual follower in the East. Fred Kersley, however, is fabled and his stable is firing, so maybe Operational (14) @ 25/1. Olly rides the fav (3).

It’s a big day for little clubs, from Wallabadah to King Island, Murtoa and beyond. Enjoy it.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our postings this year – we are yet to work out how to win but we know how to have a good time trying. Especially grateful to Peter for his prompt uploading and intros and, of course, to the regulars who keep it rolling – Oges, cowshedend, Budge, Jock, Elvis and all the rest. May 2014 bring you good health, great happiness and the elusive Quaddy.

Good luck!


  1. Ripsnorter says

    Hey Crio
    Happy new year from out west where a cooler new year is surprisingly with us. I am on moonlight bay in the big one here at a really juicy price.
    Also think you may get something out of Jim n Jim, mendicity, dueton and sailmaker in the last in the supporting races.
    Happy punting

  2. cowshedend says

    Crio, thanks for all your great work throughout the year, it’s always been entertaining. My man Oisin Murphy had a great win in the Bagot, sat wide but new what was under him.
    Yendall had punters hearts in their mouths on Anlon when he rode for luck(god knows why!) But got the chokkies, both he and the second horse(who will win plenty over more ground) he’s your man, were the runs of the day.
    see you on Sunday for a punt a feed and some pom bagging.
    may the Baron be with you

  3. Thanks for keeping an old bloke entertained boys and to Crios for his stamina and literary prowess week in and out

  4. Thanks boys – much appreciated. might take your tips now I’m home for the TV Ripsnorter.
    cowshedend – had a good chat with young Oisin this morning. what a likeable young fella. Weight will shorten his career. He looks so light but is wasting already and is 54.5.
    Oges – keep those tips coming mate!

  5. I must concede that Olly’s Perth Cup ride was a gem – couldn’t have gone around another horse and won.

  6. cowshedend says


    Also crio, bit sad the passing of Saintly Lodge, go over there most days and see Barts horses having a pick in their rugs opposite the Bagot car park.
    So many stables in Ascot Vale gone to God, valuable real estate

  7. VRC sold off quite a slab last month.

  8. Thanks, Crio. I’m in Esperance at the moment, so was keen to have an interest in the Perth Cup, but really just wanted to have a quick punt at the tab in the morming before going out to the beaches for the day, and couldn’t be stuffed analysing the form myself… So your advice was handy.

    As it was, we got the beautiful symmetry of 1st & last. Oliver on no.3 for the win, whilst Operational will likely reach the finishing post some time tomorrow. But I backed them both, and am slightly ahead, so thanks!

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