Crio’s Racing: Queensland and New South Wales

It’s all too easy to overlook this weekend’s races. Scan the options and you’ll see that the major offerings in NSW and Qld are provincial and, more importantly, the forecast is grim. So, whilst I can encourage a look at the fields (which are actually pretty good), the truth is that the weather – and thus possible track conditions – make any tipping at best speculative, and at worst, possibly even redundant.


Sydney racing seems jinxed and I’m off it completely. That this sentiment is widespread is unfortunate for the Hawkesbury club which runs a terrific meeting with strong prize money and three Group3 offerings:-

SR5- 1300m, F+M, SWP

If Solicit (1) is 10/1 then you know it is a pretty good race. The big guns obviously want this Darley money – Moody has Peron (6), Snowden runs Rose Of Choice (7), whilst Waller, G.A.Ryan and John O’Shea each have multiple acceptors with chances.

SR6- Gold Cup, 1600m, H’cp

Good depth here. Surely it is time for Ecuador to salute. San Diego, Malice, Strawberry Boy and Rugged Cross are amongst a host of challengers.

SR7- Guineas, 1400m, 3yo, SWP

2,3,10. 8 the other.


Toowoomba, too, would have been excited at the prospects of a main Saturday meeting, with serious drawcards, but they, too, must know that rain is likely to wreck attendance and turnover.

What a shame:-

6- Gold Cup, 2150, Quality

Pornichet (1), probably a group horse, runs here after missing a start in the Hollindale. He’ll be short but that is not a benefit with others at the top of the weights rated chances. For the Club, it is an opportunity to restore the status of a former jewel which has lost its lustre after years of ordinary noms and artificial surfaces.

7- Guineas, 1625m, 3yo

These 3yo races are becoming a bit “dime a dozen”…just calling it a Guineas does not necessarily make it prestigious. Gai’s naturally spruiking her runner (5), but 7/4 Tegan Harrison from 18 gate? 6/4 the toppy might be better.

8- Sprint, 1200m, Quality, Listed

Ill-fated Stathi Katsidis owned this sprint with 5 victories from 8 editions up to 2007. Notable winners include Tiny’s Finito (1991) and Swiss Ace (2008). This week, Allan Denham and Jimmy Byrne are favoured to join the winning list with Mount Nebo (5), especially since Tony Gollan’s challenger (12) has drawn in the crowd. Rob Heathcote’s toppy, Excellantes, must have some hope and the best roughies, especially in the wet, are probably Jason McLachlan’s pair, Facile Tigre and old Phelan Ready.


Down here in Melbourne there’s an OK card at Caulfield, and I might even be tempted to release the moths – MR5 No1 all up E/W MR8 No2.

But even the racing regulars are getting battle fatigue and looking for other options.

A few are heading to The Alice for their “Carnival”, hoping to enjoy some daytime warmth and the point of difference which comes with NT racing. Without having any grasp at all on the divergent formlines, I reckon there’s a feature all-up I’ll be plonking for Saturday’s Sprint (1200m, $100k) in to The Cup on Monday (2000m, H’cap, $110k plus TROBIS)…one of their finest exports, current Adelaide Champion trainer Phillip Stokes, is producing just two runners at Pioneer Park – so it’s Prince Albert into Couldn’t Agreemore.

Stokes’ is a really good story, growing up on a cattle property riding and breaking in horses, eventually finishing his apprenticeship with Viv Oldfield at Alice Springs. But this is no bush battler, because Stokes then globetrotted, working in big stables in the USA, France and Japan before settling in SA. Hucklebuck’s Emirates win last year was the highlight of an outstanding season so far for the highly regarded trainer.

He’ll no doubt be a prominent player in his adopted “black shorts” at Morphettville on Saturday ([email protected] No3 E/W, AR3 No1) where the SAJC’s stuttering calendar revives for the Group One Oaks and Sprint (the old “Bobby Gangster”), prestigious races, well supported by trainers and, importantly, likely to be run on a fair track.

Here’s where the serious money men might have a crack – and where our “men on the ground” can pitch in with some leads. There’s the Queen Of The South and the D.C. McKay Stakes as well on a ripper day which has been a bit lost in the national profile.

AR5- Australasian Oaks, 2000m, 3yoF, SW, G1

This looks to be a pretty good edition. Racebook order seems about right?

AR6- Queen Of The South Stakes, 1600m, F+M, SWP, G2

Marianne (3) has consistent form in good company. John Sadler seems to be finding winners in his stable (13), whilst other Vic raiders Robbie Griffiths (1) and D.K.Weir (2,6,8) look to have the best of the rest.

AR7- Robert Sangster Stakes, 1200m, F+M, WFA, G1

Cheering here for a happy homecoming for former local Miracles Of Life (1).

6 and 7 are amongst a myriad of chances.

AR8- D.C.McKay Stakes, 1100m, Quality, G3

Here’s the traditional Goodwood lead-in, though surprisingly few have won the double. I reckon I actually remember Eastern Court winning this in 1972; certainly the honour board triggers my foggy recall – King’s Helmet (74), Comaida Boy (78/79), Ducatoon (80), Penny Edition (83)…

Again the interstate trainers look to have a strong hand. Thermal Current (5) has been expensive so I’d prefer Minaj (9) E/W. Streetcar Isabelle (6) looks the local hope.


We’ll need to find some winners because it is a hard road ahead.

The cold and the wet might be applicable to the League states right now but it is absolutely synonymous with Warrnambool – the magnificent Carnival to which many of us will head next week. It is a staying test for punters and horses and only the most durable will succeed. The weather forecast is dire. True believers only! I’ll be out the back of the David McLauchlan stand. Can’t wait.

Good luck!


  1. Rail at Caulfield is out 14 mteres! Normally would make leaders good things but after last week I wonder but at 14 out should be hard to find room to get through.

    Past McKay winners bring back a few memories, Kings Helmet was an interesting one as it went to the Goodwood the next week and in a capacity field, missed the start by a few lengths, went around them all and hit the front only to have Samist kick back on it’s inside to win. Why do I remember….probably the best thing beaten I had ever backed at the time

  2. Crio,
    I have a group of about 20 mates form Williamstown making the journey to the Alice cup carnival for the third year in succession.
    Very jealous indeed that I could not be a part of it.

  3. Maaaate, get a weather app will ya!!!! BrisVegas and old Sydney will be off. Raining

  4. cowshedend says

    Great work Crio, will be keeping well clear of the northern offerings.
    Jock i had to check it out on 3 websites to confirm rail was out 14 at the Heath.
    They’ll be running down a corridor in the straight!
    Maybe that rotten non winning conveyance Epic Saga gets its chance in the 2nd, will get a very soft lead adn the fave might find itself out on a limb.
    Interesting runner for Lloyd Williams in the same race, lightly raced 4yo Irish Import Wexford Town having its first start in oz

  5. Chalkdog: thanks for channelling Rob’s Gel…Toowoomba a 4 and H’bury 7 when I wrote (in second sentence!) that the forecast is grim! Stick to your specialties (still back the 9 at the red-hots?)

  6. and, unbelievably, the “official” site still has Toowoomba as a Good 4!
    However, they’ll be lucky to race as per radar.
    Morphettville is the place to punt – reckon I’ll set up near the TAB top level MCC Members tmrw

  7. Chalkdog says

    9 and 10 at the lickers. Had a small go last night at a pub in Tarneit. Had a laugh as the poster promoting the big fight on Sunday (big screen free entry yada yada) was advertising American and Malaysian snack food. Obviously not big fans of the Philipino classics out west.

  8. That’s funny Chalkdog…gave me a chance to look up the likely offerings. Most pretty regulation, but research Pinikpikan!

  9. Chalkdog says

    I have it on good authority that they enjoy the odd chicken foot or two.

  10. cowshedend says

    Tarneit Chalk? And to think I knew you when you were from humble beginnings!

  11. If I was trying to get a bank for the Bool this would not be a good time to start. Adelaide has great racing but there are too many races with lots of chances especially in the Oaks ( haven’t backed an Oaks winner in SA since Goliette)
    Miracles of Life returns here as does Avoid Lightning a noted autumn horse and former local
    Like you Crio I will go for the local Sreetcar Isabelle with a small e/w on Spirits Dance as well
    Enjoy the Bool and don’t let dehydration set in

  12. Oges: toughen up, here’s how to back the Oaks winner.
    Realistically there is only 4 chances, the top 4.
    I have a personal policy of not backing WA horses interstate, especially at their first runs because they normally carry Elvis’ money so we are down to 3. Fenway missed the Sydney Oaks and hasn’t had a run for 5 weeks so I will risk, leaving Fontien Ruby and Wine Tales and because I know that backing fav’s is fraught with danger that makes the selection Wines Tales.
    I will also be trying Sabatini in the Sangster and Nearest to Pin EW in the last..goes OK fresh and note the the current fav, Yesterday’s Songs won a benchmark 70 at it’s last start.
    Interestingly the Morphettville rail is in the true position which is only ever used on days when there is a group 1 and the horses never go anywhere near it because it never gets a chance to compact and is always slower. I suspect most winners will come out wide if the speed in races is OK.
    At Caulfield I’m warming to Nordic Prince in the 6th and Mirage in the 8th based on leaders or racing handy to the lead getting the favours with the rail position.

  13. Jock, the Perth horse is a good thing in the SA Oaks as Elvis is in Kentucky for the Derby so won’t be able to get on at Morphettville!
    I’m with you on Sabatini and fancy Let’s Make A Deal in the Queen of the South fresh.

  14. Hard to know what is likely at Hawkesbury/Toowoomba. The radar tonight is showing most of the rain hitting Bris/Gold Coast more than Toowoomba so fingers crossed they can proceed there.
    In Adel I thought a tough programme and difficult to find a winner. Maybe Miracles of Life in the sprint and Spirit’s Dance a knockout hope in the last.
    Good luck!

  15. But spiritually Higgo, you’re in Kentucky with Elvis.

  16. Spiritually Budge, indeed I am.

    Busy doing form for the Derby!

  17. The Hawkesbury peno says 5.55. Toowoomba has finally officially dropped from a 4 to a 7 but reports nil rainfall and a peno of 4.85 (by comparison, Caulfield is 5.2!) – too much misinformation/uncertainty in NSW/Qld. Adelaide is the preferred venue for sure.

  18. erratum…Toowoomba 62mm rain

  19. Budge,
    Elvis always finds a way to stop one
    You should know better.
    On a similar note Dodgy agrees with Wine Tales so what seemed so simple earlier is now more complex.
    FYI Toowoomba according to BOM has had 87 ml in the last 24 hrs. regardless of the quoted condition they will need flippers if it goes ahead.

    Go Blues

  20. Black Dog says

    Hey Jock
    I’m with you on Winetales ! Waller doesn’t come to little ol Adelaide town without going home with the chocolates, plus Huge Bowman will help the cause.
    Agreed Sabatini the William Hill Classic but would watch Wawail freshened up

  21. Are we working on a leader’s track at Morphettville?

  22. Crio

    I’m not up with all the track differentials in Adel really, is there a reason it should be leaderish?
    Jock, you seem to be all over the “rail” business in most states….the Adel track should play fair shouldn’t it? I assume they are all on the course proper and not the “Parks?”

  23. Yeah, Higgo, you are right.
    Jock is the (self proclaimed) track scout.
    He has forecast a leader bias at Caulfield, on the rails “off” but otherwise fair at Morphettville and flippers in Rugby League states

  24. Yee have no faith Chalkdog….full steam ahead with Toowoomba and Hawkesbury!

    Thinking Amarachi is good value in 1st at 20s.
    Vilanova likes wet and a chance in open race in the Cup and Surpass a knockout.
    Bachman looks good value at 20s in the Guineas.

    Pornichet silly short with 60.5 on heavy when unknown in it. Seceret Garden improves soft.
    Jumbo Prince also too short…Grappa Brandy a chance at $35.
    The Weetwood a bit of a raffle really….value look to be The Storeman $21 and Tukiyo $13.

    Good luck to all.

  25. adel track will be fine, there is never a leader bias on the outside track and winners can still be leaders but it’s a bit rare, expect most winners will be in the middle of the course in the straight

  26. cowshedend says

    Gotta love the naming of Oaks horse Ungrateful Ellen… out of Degereres by Grey Swallow… how’d that get through?

  27. Excellently spotted cowshedend!!

  28. Skip of Skipton says

    Forget the races for one minute.

    Crio, Cowshedend et al.

    Footscray are fucking awesome!

    No, you have never seen a better Footscray team than this.

    Brendan McCartney is a brilliant ‘pre-trainer’, Beveridge is a ‘whisperer’.

    Old Boyd back pocket. Tick. Picken free range (two weeks in a row BOG). Tick.

    Who in their right mind would have even considered this?

    Member# 2427978 . Over and out.

  29. Exciting times. Enjoy

  30. Skip of Skipton says

    There was a horse in the Kentucky Derby I liked, El Khabeir, Calvin Borel’s mount. It appears to be scratched.

    Will be going for the big 17 1/2 hand ‘Dortmund’ now.

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