Crio’s Racing: Guineas Day – as good as it gets

Guineas Day. This is as good as it gets. A beautifully balanced programme at the crossroads of the Carnival, it attracts enthusiasts and leaves a legacy for Spring and beyond.
Saturday’s fields, it is fair to say, don’t quite do justice to their billing, but it is nevertheless a “don’t miss” for real racing fans. The Schillaci, The Stakes, The Toorak and The Guineas are major events on the calendar and for various reasons each of them has failed to attract depth in quantity +/or quality.
The Schillaci (MR4, 1000m, G2, WFA) is one of a range of eminent options for owners of top line sprinters. With Black Caviar, Hay List, Ortensia and others off the scene, Buffering looks clearly the next best, especially at WFA in a small field. Should win?

The Caulfield Stakes (MR5, 2000m, G1, WFA) has had mixed prominence in recent years, though the honour board remains impressive. With Manighar’s withdrawal, we are left with just 7 starters and the prospect of Ocean Park being deep in the tomato sauce. I look forward to seeing the speed maps and making some sense of this race. Probably no bet.

The Toorak Handicap (MR6, 1600m, G1, Handicap) is truly time-honoured though its status as our premier mile is now challenged by the Stakes on Flemington’s Final Day. More Joyous (1) is a mare carrying 60kgs – she is also a champ and is rarely beaten. The 1600m, in fact, is probably “her go”. 5/4 looks cramped but find me a danger amongst the other 9 to line up! King Mufhasa (2) races handy and is brave. Solzhenitsyn (7) is the improver but doesn’t look any value in early markets. Probably no bet.

The Caulfield Guineas (MR7, 1600m, G1, 3yo)should be an exhibition gallop as Pierro (1) goes around at $1.20 against 7 opponents. His win might not prove anything as far as stamina and pressure goes, but then the Cox Plate itself might dwindle to a trot and canter as the hopefuls fall away. Logically you’d just let him go around. Less logically, you ponder the Caulfield hoodoo and question the worth of a snip at serial offender All Too Hard, now getting to backable odds and a more suitable distance. My instincts still say he will win a good race but I suspect it will be in a larger field with the pace frenetic up front. That’s not how this one will pan out. Other good horses seem to be running for healthy stakemoney – no one’s put up their hand to try out the fav.

The Herbert Power Stakes (MR8,2400m, G2, Quality) looks more competitive, especially as a Caulfield Cup start is on offer to so many of these still seeking qualification. DD’s scouting mission to Ascot has had him spruiking Gatewood (2) and Shahwardi (4) and here is where they’ll need to show something – betting indicates that Gatewood is ready. In a race of many chances, Exceptionally (8) looks tested now from barrier 15 and Bossy will have to be at his best to steer Mr. O’ceiren (10)across from 12! I think he can. 9,10,1 of the locals. I risk the raiders.

If you’ve taken a Quaddy, the last looks the chance for a healthy div (MR9, 1200m, Listed, Mares, SWP). Between now and then so many variables make any guess speculative – thus I’ll speculate on Koonoomoo (12) at the $31!
For those punters looking to get a bank early on, I don’t see any easy coin. The first race (MR1, 1400m, Listed) will be E/W the field and is worthy of a later posting. It is named to celebrate Weekend Hussler, the locally trained gelding who won the 2007 Caulfield Guineas as he swept to Horse of the Year honours and 6 G1 wins for the season! Unfortunately (or not), his record carries an asterisk as, just as he imposed himself on our tracks, the border was shut to any interstate or Kiwi challengers due to the Equine Influenza. “Best of the rest”? – the value of the vanquished in his initial G1 triumph seems modest at best. His versatility and popularity, though, remains unquestioned and he helped racing to survive those dark times. Big punters were happy to take the “shorts” and, for a time, the big Bay didn’t let them down. Though I can’t see this race as being a springboard to any fame it is nevertheless an important chance for punters to have a look at how the track “plays”. For example, Dusty Star (7) will hope for an on pace bias whereas Speediness (3) will want to be running on. Mr Make Believe (6) might be the compromise?

Snitzerland (MR2, 1200m, 3yo, SW) takes on the Colts but will still be odds on. Only top weight Sizzling, with an impressive Qld picket fence next to his name, is considered a serious threat, though Lankan Rupee (5) must go in trifectas.
The Thoroughbred Club Stakes (MR3, 1200m, 3yoF, G3) requires judges to make a call – I am off Elite Elle and, despite the rain around, will risk her. Try E/W Zoria (14) at the 33/1.

I’m far from set in my approach to this meeting.
First impression: disappointed at the smallish feature fields.
Possible reinterpretation: favs Pierro, More Joyous, Ocean Park and Buffering are worthy to be in next year’s Miller’s Guide.
Not negotiable: Guineas Day is one of the very best. Get there if you can.

The weather is fluky and the form needs further scrutiny. Mightn’t be a great punting day….maybe load up on the multis or take on Shane Templeton in the Jockey’s Challenge! This is the time to really enjoy your racing. There’s something for everyone. Old Pacino lines up in the Manangatang Cup. Cranbourne races Friday night and also hosts a ripper Cup Day on Sunday (with fine weather it is a terrific venue).
Good luck!


  1. Early as usual with my post. Have to agree Crio this is a great racing day but with too many “shorties” I will be an interested spectator for most. However I will stick by Exceptionally as the horse owes me nothing and take an interest in Classy Chloe in the last though its second up.
    I wait with keen interest the duels later between Budge and Elvis and others on this site togther with their tips (I wont be waiting up half the night so get in early please guys)

  2. Peter Flynn says

    On balance, a disappointing program.

    Agree re Weekend Hussler.

    Weak Caulfield Stakes.

    Waiting for Flemington.

  3. David Downer says

    Good one Crio.
    Very excited about heading out there tomorrow – but agree with general sentiments, overall the spread and depth of quality/quantity is a bit thin.
    I’m most looking forward to seeing Pierro, More Joyous with the weight, and Gatewood finally hitting the track on these shores (and I say “finally”, as I’ve been tracking him for six months!).
    More form to be dissected, but some early thoughts…
    Yosei must be some sort of knock-out chance at about $13 in the Toorak, if MJ can’t get the job done. Yosei doesn’t win out of turn, but she usually puts in one big run each campaign, and this one might be it. Not sure her plans from here, but the Toorak might be her Grand Final. It’s her fifth run in now, and the corresponding run in the Autumn was a length 3rd in the Doncaster to More Joyous – the weight turnaround from that day to Saturday is 2kgs in Yosei’s favour. If King Mufhasa and Steps In Time can niggle each other up front it might turn on some pace to bring her into it.
    MJ will be hard to run down of course – people might forget she is already 3 from 3 at Caulfield. Not sure why Solzhenitzyn is so well in the market, hasn’t done enough for mine to justify a $4.50 price.
    Can’t wait to see Gatewood step out. His last run in France was a neck second to Masterstroke who ran 3rd in the Arc on Sunday. That’s probably a decent old formline for the Herbert Power! Have already taken the $4.80 for Saturday (miffed I missed opening of $5.50), and have had a few Cup bets on him over the past few months. The big key to Gatewood is being, forgive me, “progressive”. I am seat 1A of the fanclub. Bianmick going well for the locals, and a great story to go with it.
    The Caulfield Stakes has dropped away in relevance/depth in recent years. Small field and a distinct lack of pace seems the status quo now – might be another Duoro Valley type upset in the brewing? Maybe Midas Touch at the odds is the one who dictates up front and pinches it?
    Anyway. More to follow…

  4. Peter Flynn says

    The annual Team Williams unravel has begun.

    1/25 a Williams horse is scratched between the running of the Hotham Hcp and Cup morning.

    Did I hear correctly N Williams using the verb ‘train’ when extolling the virtues of L Williams?

    Surely a slip of the tongue N Williams.

  5. Great summation Crio, as usual.

    The Schillaci is a really interesting one. Agree that Buffering appears to be the best sprinter and might get a soft lead or sit off Malasun and there are a few who like to settle and come home. This race used to have a good record for 3YOs given the weight pull so MALASUN at the big odds might be worth a try. Was a early favourite for Blue Diamond and trained at the track. First up she led easily then appeared to pull when jockey tried to settle her and was then taken on in front and set up for the swoopers. Prepared to forgive that one and hope the huge weight pull makes a difference here.

    I guess Ocean Park look a good thing but not prepared to take the $1.50. I’d like to see Bowman be aggressive on Midas Touch and turn it into a staying test which would put pay to Sincero and don’t reckon Ocean Park would want a gut buster this close to the Cox Plate.

    Not so sure about the so-called Caulfield hoodoo. They still mention Kingston Town and the like but the track has been considerably remodelled since those days. Pierro gets the chance top join the creme de la creme of horses to win the Golden Slipper and Caulfield Guineas. The only ones to do so to date are:

    Storm Queen
    Luskin Star

    Elite company indeed!
    I think, like Manikato, that Pierro is pretty much bombproof and just wins.

  6. Paste in link below for a great photo of Pierro (of course he has his own Facebook page).
    See the power!!!/photo.php?fbid=123393904478297&set=a.123378964479791.26245.122693211215033&type=1&theater

  7. As a southern suburbanite Guineas day my favourite mtg of the year Crio but heavily immersed in cricket season this year means I’ll be catching it on radio and the box.

    Nice marble for Instinction in the first, I’m including Tokugawa and Yosei (Bossy might help with regular partner Michelle P still out) in everything and each way Mr O’ceirin in HP.

    Last race is classic Heath field quaddie leg. We were always live into the last leg mares race on feature days at the Heath, and always reaching for the formguide after Cassidy jumps one of Russell Cameron’s first-uppers to a five-length lead at the 600 never to be headed again at 50-1.

    Good luck all. And Crio I reckon it’s sad that the old Heath betting ring is now deserted at feature days – big loss of atmos for mine and much more corporate feel now it’s inside – but I suppose if it keeps you and your big bag of readies warm and dry then we can’t begrudge it too much.

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    The Herbert Power* is interesting, if only because it has a bigger field than a Greyhound race, and maybe their is a cup contender lurking.

    The Group 1s are about as ‘bad as it gets’. Hopefully Gai’s hot-shots can be kept honest in the Toorak and Guineas or the whole day is a flop.

    I need to update the Miller’s Guide, but who did Weekend Hussler defeat in the Randwick Guineas and George Ryder?

    *Good to see it is no longer ‘The Quick-Eze’.

  9. DD,
    Greg Carpenter insists that the Euros see Gatewood as “well in”.

  10. Boom Boom

    Awkward draw, but gets tucked away. He’s smoking his pipe while feeling the soft ground on his hooves and thinking about his first-up record.

    Gets the split 150 out.

    Boom boom Boom Boom.

    Each way special.

  11. Weekend Hussler beat Triple Honour and Arlington in the Randwick Guineas and Racing To Win and Casino Prince in the George Ryder.

  12. Miss Marx in the last has to be put in – all runs have been huge this campaign and have to like a mare in this sort of form.

    Didntcostalot no luck last time and while maybe not quiet up to winning this is one to put some value into the multiples.

  13. Tough race the last.
    Here’s a conundrum…
    Koonoomoo has no second up form.
    However, commentators agree that she didn’t get a run 1st up – “forget it even went around”.
    Therefore – is this first up (again)?…and has it a chance?

  14. JTH – you can really go Boom Boom by taking Temple of Boom into Boom’N’Zoom in the Cranbourne Cup on Sunday. As Crio mentioned, a couple of ripper races there too.

  15. Peter Flynn says

    If you’ve had money on it, you can’t forget it went around.

    One of the many many amusing phrases in racing vernacular.

  16. Skip of Skipton says

    Late-bloomer Bianmick to complete the JRA/Herb Power double and rocket to Melbourne Cup favouritism.

  17. Gotten on the grog early Skip?

    Crio – at the odds worth forgiving Koonoomoo its first up non-run. Incredibly tough race- maybe even the bottom weight if it gets a run.

  18. Skip of Skipton says

    Hey, it worked for Alcopop, Budge. The entire racing media got on the grog early that spring.

  19. More Joyous with a 60kg impost faces a huge challenge. Despite her imposing record, no mare has carried that weight to victory in the Toorak since 1906. That’s why records are made; to be broken. I hope Buffering does well in the Schillaci. Heathcote runs a good stable.


  20. Dom Beirne says More Joyous is no value.
    Peter, why is Heathcote nowadays legging up C.Brown rather than D.Browne?

  21. Glen, what was the minimum in 1906?
    While a big weight makes a difference, it is the differential in weights between the runners that is the key. In the “old days” More Joyous would still have got 60kgs (or imperial equivalent) but bottom weight would be on 47kgs. Tomorrow the bottom weight is 52kgs so she is “only” 8kgs off the minimum.

  22. Have you been running this theory past Alfy Matthews again Budge?!

  23. Sorry Budgey, i don’t know what was the bottom weight in 1906, though it wouldn’t have been in kilos.


  24. Come on Glen! lift your game

  25. as of mid arvo Friday, here’s the market indicators…

    1- Mr Make Beliueve and Smokin Joey have firmed. Pretty steady market as to be expected in such a wide race.

    2- Nothing dramatic. Punters want $1.95 and not $1.85. Sizzling and Lankan Rupee remain in contention.

    3- Formidable 17 in 13

    4- Buffering

    5- 2 horse race. 7/4 on and 7/2 against

    6- More Joyous out from evens to 5/4 and drifting. Thus Solzhenitsyn is in a fraction (!) and C. williams’ spirit Song has shortened 17-13

    7- Pierro

    8- Gatewood $5 smashed in to $3.50

    9- Open race. Nibbles for Anise (21-17) from a wide gate

  26. If you can forgive Guns At Five its last run, it appears over the odds in the Herbert Power. Blinkers back on again too.

  27. Crio,

    Don’t know if anyone (else) is desperate enough to follow an omen, but Pampellone carries the Schillaci colours of Alan Bell in the……

  28. Thanks Elvis for joining the discussion. Come back again when you have something useful to add!

  29. Budge,

    No worries mate, will do.

  30. Budge,

    You’re a smart arse.

  31. John Harms says

    Yes but he’s a smart smart arse.

    I’m also having something on Steps In Time.

    And Cabernet for obvious reasons.

    Has The Beaver been spotted?

  32. The Beaver is looking desperate for some punters. He has never really been away. I actually pointed him out to DD as he scurried through the Flemington betting ring last Saturday.

  33. David Downer says

    If only the Almanac’s other favourite was running this weekend too…

    Boom Boom BLOOM…

  34. Sorry Elvis but we need to keep up the banter for Oges’ entertainment.

  35. Just back from a day out with the “Management Committee” and somewhat out of pocket following Gordon Yorkes horses at Coffs.
    Elvis and Budge you have made my day and we have Harmsy on the site after a winter spell

  36. Anyone (esp DD) got a banker at Cranny tonight?

  37. John Harms says

    Very rusty Oges, but have a nice bank for the Spring after the footy season.

  38. Skip of Skipton says

    Elvis is no smart arse, he is a mystic. Every utterance is useful.

    I was in Beaufort this arvo helping a mate load a lot of potting mix, an excuse to go to the pub, and took a cheap Quad with Yosei one out to roll MJ. Fifth up, Caulfield Guineas winner, 7.5kg weight pull and lots of wishful thinking is good enough for me..

  39. Harmsy- stick with Crios racing . The tips are good the the information gained better ( and the banter keeps me amused; )something I should note myself after my effort today

  40. Budge,

    I was going to throw out Guns At Five, his third behind Precedence at the Valley was a great run. Ordinary ride in my opinion last start and Nolen replaces The Impaler. The drier and further the better,. Huge each way.

    The oxymoron bet of the last two decades goes around tonight. Lucky Elvis in the fourth.

    Also, I note that Dusty Star is a chestnut like his sire General Nediym. Another one for the omen punters.

  41. omen punters!…or the mystics – though I’m tipping you are not looking at tea leaves after 5pm on a Friday.

  42. JTH, I know you were being whimsical re Cabernet, but get fixed odds now if it is your fancy (despite the wide gate).

  43. whoops – Cabernet scratched! Put it in the black book for when it gets a gate.

  44. Crio,

    Spoilt for information now with the unbelievable guide you send me, but where can I find sectionals, ie last 600, last 400 etc.

  45. No idea mate. By the time I digit type the preview and stuff around I never get to check any form! Junior cricket 7.30 tmrw morning before Caulfield!! “instinct” is up against your “mysticism”!
    call me for a contact if needed.

  46. Crio,

    Thanks mate, the reason I asked was to attempt to make a case for one of my usual suspects Anise. From the video, she looked like she ran home faster than anything else off a pretty hot pace. I’ll tumble for her again anyway.

  47. supporting that, “video watchers” are keen on Anise and the money has arrived. Awful gate – S. Arnold is very good, but???

  48. Fresh from the pub after having backed (on name only) Lucky Elvis in race 2 at Cranbourne which ran a place at 40’s.Should have won but didn’t attack the line, at least consistent with it’s namesake.
    I notice the Budge has stated that Peirro is probably bombproof like Manikato but I seem to recall that the Budge managed to get Manikato beaten at about 4’s on by Galleon one day a while back at Caulfield but I doubt even the Budge’s money can stop Pierro.

    I notice some comments on The Beaver above but wont join in as I have no expertise there.

    Make Believe looks the goods in the first and will make a great start to the day. Mr O’Ceirin also looks a great chance in the Herbert Power, last start was 21 days of a run which was 90ish days off the previous so it will keep improving, my personal policy is to ignore the internationals until I’ve seen them have a run.

    Prepared to risk More Joyous on potentially affected track and have a try at
    Tokugawa because it’s a winner and Yosei is hard to catch even if conditions suit.

    Apart from that I’m wondering how I will put anything apart from the field as a final quaddie leg selection.

  49. Skip of Skipton says

    Field is often the best bet in the last, Jock. It aint called the ‘bookies benefit’ for nothing.

  50. dance with her and exceptionally both firing and should finish in the placings for all exotic bets, ESP quinella and trifecta punters.

  51. Skip of Skipton says

    Omens, mystical utterences, and now ESP. We have all bases covered.

  52. Classy Chloe in the last might just hang on long trip from the border just to run 2nd again

  53. I am at junior cricket……any notable scratchings for me to ponder at square leg.
    I saw it deteriorate to Slow 7 at Cranbourne. Dry at Flemington. Caulfield should still be Dead 4?

  54. David Downer says

    The final(ish) word

    Caulfield Stakes
    Not keen on taking the shorts on Ocean Park, but he is very good. So as I hinted yesterday, will have a nibble at MIDAS TOUCH at around $17. This might be the type of scenario he’s be waiting for. Small field where he can go ahead and dictate. As we know these small WFA fields can throw up muddling pace affairs – worth a throw at those odds.

    Toorak Hcp
    This would be a “great for racing” job if More Joyous gets up. If she continues easing out she’ll start looking a lot more attractive at say $2.90/$3. I will have an each-way go at YOSEI, on weights alone from the Doncaster this would have her turning the tables on MJ here. Easier said than done of course! Will be an intriguing speed-map. King Mufhasa and Steps In Time up front, but going how quickly? Are we still underestimating how tough K.Mufhasa is?

    Herbert Power
    Have bored everyone senseless about GATEWOOD the last few months, so will keep it in check. Am already on at $4.80. Best of the local chances (and into the quad), go Bianmick, Exceptionally and Dance With Her. Might also have an each-way saver on Dance With Her. Strong on-pacer in great form, will have every chance.

    The Mares “’mare”
    Has the letter “F” ever been more applicable? If I’m going to back one in this raffle, SERENE STAR at around $10 will be the one for me. Has come through the Winter but keeps finding. Big weight drop today against her last start rivals under the SWP conditions – and never had a crack at them in that race. Should be a heap of speed on here to suit her coming off the pace. Needs some luck to weave a passage, but some of her wins have been in this vein.

    The Schillaci’s also a good little race the more you look at it too. Buffering deserves good things coming his way now ..but almanac fave “the Boom” might attract an emotional investment.

    Also looking forward to seeing Pierro in the flesh of course.

    Happy punting folks … and go go Gatewood!


  55. These wide open last races make it tough for Quaddy punters. Ideally you’d go skinny and lay off on Betfair but that is not so easy when it is E/W the field.
    Despite what was written earlier, bookies tend to dislike these betting races other than on a cup Day with lots of “ground” money. A market like the Schillachi (except preferably 14 or 15 runners) is more their caper. A layable shortie to stand, whack most of the others in to chop out, back a roughie and put your foot on a middle pinner. That’s enough cliches!!
    Good luck.
    We even managed to lose on Turnbull Day so we need to fight back at our bogey course.

  56. DD, Harmsy, Budge etc,
    On my way and excited about today.
    The boss gets especially toey so can only chat straight after a race.
    Maybe we can set up an Almanac muster…e.g. – after R3 in front of the Beaver’s board!
    See you there.

  57. Great summary DD. Crio have a beer for me after

  58. Two bits of info from the video-watchers. Classy Chloe was just baulked briefly at abt eh 250 when Detours beat her. She lost some momentum. I reckon she’s right in the last.

    And I have watched the Steps In Time win again. Good clip early and strong at the 200, and hit the line OK.

    DD and C Down have started a massive push. Gatewood may start odd on.

    Will try to get to The Beaver after race 3.

  59. Last thoughts.
    Jock – I said Pierro is bombproof, like Manikato, Unfortunately, like most horses, Manikato wasn’t budgeproof! I’d nearly forgotten that race when Galleon beat him. Thanks for reminding me. I also remember getting Kingston Town beat at odds on in a Mackinnon (by Belmura Lad I think).

    DD – scarily I am in agreeance on several of yours, particularly keen on Serene Star in the last. Just watch the market in case there is any money for Ametsis. Just got that Cameron plunge smell about it.
    Again agree that Yosei is a chance but she’s burnt me too many times. I might try ILLO – he won’t know himself with only 52kgs.
    Anise is even more of a non-winner than Yosei. Ran home well (again!) last start and probably will run on for a strong 5th today.
    With the huge push for Gatewood, Exceptionally is now getting out to fair value- have to get on her today.
    Still keen to try Malasun each way in the 4th.

    Happy punting!

  60. Crio/Budge – did the Waterhouse bubble burst or were there circumstances against her 2 favs today?

  61. Peter Flynn says

    I have discovered a new dance.

    It’s called the Shahwardi.

    And it goes like this….

  62. Skip of Skipton says

    Is Shahwardi going to the Caulfield Cup or being kept on ice for the big one?

  63. Kept for the big one I believe. One week back up wouldn’t suit though would win if it ran!

  64. Skip of Skipton says

    Would win it. The second horse was a good run also. Lloyd has a few irons in the fire. Geelong Cup the next watch now.

    Epaulette as a Cox Plate spec I reckon, should they take that route. Has better distance blood than the other two.

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