Crio’s Racing: The Hard Sell

Starting now it becomes a hard sell. Ask anyone involved in “other” sports in Melbourne between March and October. But, for racing, it needn’t be a matter of giving up. Here’s where committed “horse players” need to get organized and develop a resilient punting habit to withstand footy’s destructive tsunami!

I’m certainly not advocating that footy be ignored – though, for sanity I’d advise separating passion and the punt – but rather encouraging people to look at how to integrate the races in to the wintry rhythm.

It’s a furphy that we can’t pay attention to several tasks at once. Generally we recognize which is the more important. But combining races and footy is time honoured. The Record in the sock. Results on the scoreboard. So make the effort to browse the form on Fridays (even here on footyalmanac) and perhaps encourage a punters’ club at work or amongst Auskick fellows. No excuses please! Maybe a Quaddy as you enter your footy tips is the way to attack – certainly, for the time being the fields justify some attention.

A Group One, four Group 2 and two Group 3s is pretty impressive bait at Rosehill Saturday though, to be upfront, some of the fields fall a bit short of the category on offer. Nevertheless there is much of interest to punters and racelovers.

The primary hype, of course, will surround Slipper hopefuls and contenders. The big guns, I suspect, fired last week. “Diamond darling” Samaready is installed as fav and Gai’s Colt Pierro looked the pick of his gender with a courageous win.

But the riddle is by no means solved.

It’s hard to fathom a filly challenging Mick Price’s, but there is a big boom on She’s a Fox (SR1, No11) which will be put to the test in the G2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m, 2yo fillies). It’s certainly a step up from a Canterbury night victory, but the money and authority evident then indicates she might match the expectations fed by a $600,000 Yearling price tag as a sister to last week’s anti-hero Foxwedge.

Predictably, all eyes in the Pago Pago Stakes (SR2, 1200m, 2yo C+G) will train on Black Caviar’s half-bro, All Too Hard (1), whose form at Flemington has been faultless. How he wins will determine his path ahead. Only Kevin “Holy” Moses’ Collect is given any hope of issuing a challenge. Throw the beautifully bred 3 in multis.

I reckon the Darby Munro (SR3, 1200m, SW+P, Listed, 3yo) is a bit disappointing. African Pulse (2), down in class, is fav but has a poor gate and is tacky for mine. Stay out.

Forecast showers in the next couple of days will tighten the quote for the outstanding Rain Affair (1) in the WFA sprint (SR4, G2, 1100m). Astute Mornington trainer Jason Warren is convinced his Bel Sprinter (3) is fit again and, if so, he’ll be a menace in a good but disappointingly small field.

Flick the next race (SR5, G3, 1900m, F+M) and head straight to the start of a wide Quaddy.

Here I’m a bit underwhelmed by a big field lacking what looks to be genuine G2 quality (SR6, 1500m). I’m tipping Gai’s Fast Clip (7) and including bolters Rock Classic (JB, 4) and Happy Trails (14) for a big div.

It’s a sad sign of impending old age when the real Classics can’t live up to your memories…and here I am again claiming that 2012 is not a vintage Rosehill Guineas (SR7, G1, 2000m, 3yo). Yet there are some good Colts and a heavily spruiked filly pushing claims. The Kiwi mail was right last year with Jimmy Choux, but Silent Achiever (18) has been given the visitor’s gate (barrier 17) to challenge her recent picket fence…hard to gauge her chances and hard to be bullish at the predicted cramped quote, but the opponents are hardly faultless. Don’t leave her out, but maybe add 13, 16 and perhaps even the toppy as the blowout.

The N.E.Manion Cup (SR8, 2400m, Listed) is a stalwart of Sydney’s early Autumn and, as usual, there’s a stoic middle-distance bunch in pursuit of the title. These are not punting propositions – Bart’s Precedence may well be default elect – but the replays will shed light on Sydney Cup markets. 7,1,12 and any of Gai’s for the multis.

Good luck if you are still alive coming to the last (SR9, F+M, G3, 1200m). 12, 4, 3.

With so few AFL matches on Saturday afternoon and the inevitable trend to footyFOXwatching, maybe those in Melbourne might even consider coming out to the Valley Saturday afternoon, where a pretty good card awaits.

The impressive Underestimation (MR3, No1) goes around again. As I have reported, Dean Lawson is keen on this fella and wouldn’t knock him about. Must still have a win in him.

Emerald Downs (5) looks ripper value in the next (MR4, No5), a good race in which 3, 8 and even 10 must be rated.

I can’t believe Testa’s Double (5) is 40/1 in the next (MR5, 2040m) given his track/distance record. I’d back Second King (4) and save on the bolter.

Amah Rock returns again in the sprint. He looked so promising in his first prep that he should eat these, but I’ll wait to see how he has come up. Halle Rock (3) is the benchmark though 13 is an awful gate, a fate shared with Snitzem (2), another contender. They’ll fly. Put in 10 and 6 at odds.

Snow Cover (8) will get my dough again in the Mile (MR7). That is never a good basis to encourage anyone to follow, but this is a good horse due such a win. With the exodus of top hoops to Rosehill, “Froggy” Newitt is clearly the pick of those left here and this is one of several good mounts he has. Trainer Jim Mason, too, looks to have found form based on a big and successful plunge in the last at Sandown last Wednesday week. E/W forever. 2 and 5 obvious others in a ripper race for its modest status.

Freereturn (2) and It’s Crunch Time (9) are the key runners in the last but be sure to put the 2011 Palmerston Sprint winner Sense of Sun (1) in to any tris.

I’ll be swinging the bag on the Rails at Moonee Valley should any coat tuggers be in attendance.

For those with sleep difficulties it is worth remembering that the great Dubai meeting is on early Sunday morning. With daylight saving wrapping up, I can only suggest you “check local guides for times”.

Australians will have plenty to keep them interested at the amazing Meydan track where some races are on turf and others “all weather”.

Usual Suspect goes around at predictably big odds in the 2 mile Gold Cup (R3, G3).

Helmet (14) is a fascinating fancy in the UAE Derby (R4, G2, 1900m)

Ortensia (10) runs in the 1000m Sprint (R5, G1).

Evergreen Rocket Man is topweight and favourite for the Golden Shaheen (R6, G1, 1200m), with Sepoy, Soul and Brett Prebble’s HK hero Lucky Nine among a crack field on the all-weather surface.

The last of 5 consecutive Gr1 races is the Dubai World Cup (R9, all-weather track, $US10m, 2000m) and this is the big test for former Aussie star So You Think. What a triumph this would be but, naturally, there are global challengers aplenty, especially Japan’s “hot” Smart Falcon.

So don’t let the Herald-Sun convince you that there’s only one game in town. Racing rolls on…and there’s so much to look forward to in the weeks ahead.

Any tips or comments are, as usual, invited and welcomed.

Good luck.



  1. Skip of Skipton says

    Hopefully Channel 9 can show replays of the two slipper trials during their abbreviated half-arsed coverage. Surely they will run All Too Hard in the Slipper if he does it easy tomorrow.

    SYT is fave for the Dubai Cup.

  2. Skip – have to agree with you on the coverage but cant get too interested tomorrow as we are playing in a lawn bowls grand final

  3. Come on David….you can follow the ggs and bowl.

  4. Not convinced ALL TOO HARD is a true Slipper type. Think he is going to be a top miler/Caulfield Guineas horse. Even allowing for lack of depth in tomorrow’s race, I think he is a risk and even more so if they go on to the Slipper as he will be looking for further. Having said that, pretty sure Tinkler’s ego will ensure that he goes around on slipper day. Personally would prefer in Sires and Champagne.

    Love SHE’S A FOX. Looks absolutely top drawer!

    Keen on ANISE also in Sydney as I believe she is a fresh horse and this looks very suitable.

    Above opinions are from someone who backed both HAY LIST and LADY LYNETTE (protest upheld?????) last week so can’t say I’m in form!

  5. Crio – old blokes cant do more than one thing at a time- tomorrows serious so bowls rule
    GGs later

  6. Crio,

    Three for me in Sydney after an initial peruse.

    Absolutely in the Ajax. Lightly raced, won Oaks like a good horse, excuses and went well behind Kings Rose first up last time in.

    Ocean Park in the guineas. Forgive on the slow last time. Comes with huge wraps and about %10

    Merchandise in the Manion. C Waller import (another one), 2400m and J Cassidy.

  7. Elvis – with you on ABSOLUTELY. Way overs here based on excellent WFA 1st up run in Spring last year. Can win.

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