Crio’s Racing: Vale Simone Montgomerie

Sadly, any racing overview this week must acknowledge the tragic fall and death of Simone Montgomerie in Darwin on Monday. Jockeys have a passion for horses and a respect for the dangers inherent in their profession, yet it nevertheless shakes everyone to the core when such a horrible accident occurs.
Simone Montgomerie had carved out a seemingly perfect lifestyle in Darwin, riding plenty of winners and raising a young family. Her background, like so many others in the industry, is steeped in racing. She was raised in the small Eyre Peninsula community of Streaky Bay, the daughter of Peter, trainer of Melbourne Cup runner-up On A Jeune. Simone went to Pony Club with globetrotting hoop Kerrin McEvoy, whose family ties run deep in the town – jockeys all, from grandfather Bill Holland via uncles Tony (elite trainer) and Peter (President of the Streaky Bay Racing Club) and dad Phillip….this is a place that knows its horses and has experienced the highs and lows. Monday, unhappily, has cast an unprecedented pall over the region, indeed the national racing fraternity.
But, though the Cup Day was rightly abandoned, the wheels of racing roll onwards, for me to Flemington this Saturday. It’s Aurie’s Star Handicap Day, a modest meeting where “Flemington horses” get to enjoy the expanses of HQ, often preparatory to carefully scheduled triumphant returns in Spring – our next meeting here is Craiglee Stakes Day (7 Sept), then Turnbull Stakes in early October before the gala 4 days in November! It comes around very quickly.
It is a long day with 9 races to be conducted as RVL attempts to make up for abandoned meetings and sate the demands of owners and trainers. Thus we kick off at 11.30 with a $30,000 BM70 transferred from Kilmore last Sunday and now rebadged (as at tracks nationally) in tribute to Simone Montgomerie.
Some of the earlier fields will require scrutiny. Look, for example, at R3, on face value a routine F+M 0-84, but surely containing some “Watch” types. Interestingly, top young Sydney apprentice Lester Grace is down for just the one mount, claiming here aboard John Steinmetz’s well credentialled Minh Khai (5). Another to catch my wary eye is the lowly rated Princess Peggy – here’s one stepping up quickly from Adelaide class and with just $30,000 in earnings, yet the Tony McEvoy/C.Williams combo demands caution.
I’m also likely to face a dilemma in MR5. Wrongly, but following “good mail”, I fell in to Clang And Bang a fortnight ago in an unsuitable race (jumping off the winner, my initial selection!). He looks, therefore, reasonable value at 20/1 with a claim here, but….a word of caution. The huge D.K.Weir stable has been off the boil for a couple of months – a Geelong winner on Tuesday broke a near 30 runner drought for them and, beforehand, it had also been barren through much of July. I like to roll with good form – but will still have a snip E/W MR5 No2.
As usual it is a really open Quaddy. Here are some numbers to kick off discussion:
MR6- top two are on Caulfield cup paths and Folding Gear is Blinkers 1st time, but unlikely today. Henwood (11) is flying and looks a big, HQ type. Find a speed map and include the likely leader. Don’t discount the progressive 15 at odds. 3 is an obvious inclusion.
MR7- Some ordinary stock for a G3. Ferlax (3) went Benalla, Sale, G1 Guineas at Flemington in an incredible winning sequence in Autumn. I am a bit of a skeptic still, though he has nominated for the big ‘uns. Riziz (4) is the form horse and Temple of Boom (2) the genuine group runner down the famous straight. Interesting to see how former WA star Luckygray goes, now with the crafty Smerdon camp.
MR8- uninspiring 2000m H’cap. What do you do with Upbeat? He’s a tease but has talent. 3 and 11 are worth consideration. I need to get some form and scrutinize this one further.
MR9- very wide. 11, 3 and look for on pacers.
It is belting down here in Flemington now (Wednesday 6pm) but the track is resilient so I’m reckoning on about a 5 or 6 for what is an interesting card.
Punters will certainly have an eye on Randwick, especially the Missile Stakes (SR5, WFA, 1200m). The 2011 winner, Rain Affair, will head betting but general interest will be surround the returning toppy, Hay List, as he tentatively resumes his interrupted career. MicMac heads a small but quality support cast. Good race.
Elsewhere, of course, racing goes on…. at Louth, at St George, at Carnarvon and points all around the country as it has since settlement – but heavy hearts will reflect on the toll of our much loved sport and another young life tragically lost. RIP


  1. I had a rare visit to Morphetville last week (on a cold rainy day) and watched the blessing of the course and jockeys by a priest on the track -they then spoke about the number of jockeys killed since racing began in Oz and a figure of over 500 was mentioned
    It was a sobering and sad time on Monday and made me realize again how vulnerable they all are during a race
    Ive yet to look at the form but will wait till the rain and win abaits here before I tackle the beach and talk to the trainers
    (I now know Im a novice compared to Jock and his knowledge of SA horseflesh)

  2. Oges, I think Montgomerie was indentured to D. Jolly when first apprenticed.
    Also, Jock is a good judge but you have great contacts… a good leveller.

  3. I reckon the Auries Star used to be midweek (back in the 70s) and one of Bart’s would run on for a solid 5th most years.
    I see Sunday meetings at Warrnambool and Tatura have already been moved to Coleraine and Murtoa.

  4. Those Flemington midweekers were notorious for blackbookers.
    Any Gippsland meetings will also be sodden.

  5. Getting interested again Budge ? Good to see your return -if only to keep us in line
    (I still think your Doyle comment tops everything)

  6. How sad re the death of this young mother. Lat Saturday there was the recogntion of all the hoops killed in race falls since the 1850’s. Simone is the 502 nd. Seriously, it is so important that all of us punters acknowledge the risks hoops take. How many other jobs does an ambulance follow you around every time you are working ? As an experienced OH&S rep, who’s fulfilled this role in a few different industries i’m so glad i ‘ve not worked in an industry such as this, where death and/or serious injury is such a common propsect . Vale Simone Montgomerie .


  7. cowshedend says

    Crio,Those mid weekers bring back some horrid memories.Our boss at the time ‘The Beast’ used to get myself and a mate paid out early(about 11.00am Wed) so we could head to Flemington/Werribee/Sandown.
    My mates sole aim was to blow his wage in the shortest possible period of time, one HQ he put his entire wage on Black Marque ridden by the great R.Higgens.The Prof. decided to lead up on the notorious sit and sprinter and it compounded to finish 8th, with barely a sole on track, my mate sprinted down to the fence to bake Roy as he came back down through the roses.”For [email protected]#k sake Higgens don’t you know the [email protected]#ken things never lead in it’s life”, the proflooked down at him with a wry smile without a care in the world, “Well he has now son!”

  8. Budriguez ( Adel race 7 ) may need a couple of runs

  9. Stan the Man says

    A few years ago I read “Confessions of a Mug Punter” by JTH. He lifted trainer D I Dodson to Legend status, so I started following this very astute stable. He has had some pretty good ones, with Riagrande being one in which he was part owner. A nice on pace/ front runner that saluted for us on a few occasions. I asked a mate in the TAB what it was doing in Darwin / we discovered that it had been transferred to AG Clarke and was running up there in the Carnival. What happened then deeply shocked all. The horse was travelling Ok then then seemed to be spooked by something. It reminded me of the old Victoria Park days when horses would shy and jump at the “crossing”. Very very sad day for racing. Crio well written.

  10. There’s been no hope of the Flemington track drying today – it drains magnificently but a Slow7 seems as good as we can hope for.

  11. I mentioned John Steinmetz’s Minh Khai in the preview – here’s a nice “side story” from RVL’s site.

  12. Cland And Bang…. you beauty! Weiry’s back!

Leave a Comment