Forecast for Saturday is… Eagle Farm

Melbourne…Cloudy. Showers. Winds west to southwesterly averaging 15 to 25 km/h.  Max 14

Brisbane …Fine      Max 20

Here’s a tip. You’d rather be at Eagle Farm!

That’s not to decry Melbourne’s  racecard, as it is actually a good Flemington winter meeting tomorrow. But who’d want to shiver in that wind tunnel of a betting ring rather than bask at Eagle Farm where Group Racing really shines tomorrow for the Stradbroke meeting? Many punters are starting to take a trip to the Millions meeting in January as part of an annual Queensland holiday but I’d suggest that this weekend would be the best time to escape the southern chill and take in the Sunshine State and a good sample of great racing.

The 1400m Stradbroke Handicap is now unarguably one of the great races on Australia’s turf calendar and once again it provides great depth and a nightmare for punters trying to line up the form. Unfortunately Doomben 10,000 winner Hot Danish is not running and so the dashing runner-up to her, Kav’s Whobegotyou ,will start clear favourite although there will be plenty of support for others. As usual in this type of race, luck from the barrier and in running is crucial. I love to back a top hoop in these classics as they do their form and make their fortune and, though Whobe is my clear first pick, I’ll be throwing Bossy’s Graceful Anna in to the exotics and maybe Gai’s Swift Alliance.

The “supporting” card has something for everyone including more Group Ones; The T J Smith (1600m, 2yo) and the Queensland Derby, the traditional 2400m for 3 yr olds in which I’ll back the in-form Kutchinsky for Tony Noonan and Froggy Newitt. The Group Two races are also compelling, with a very open 2400m Brisbane Cup -Bossy again on Persian Star for me – and an interesting Guineas (1600m, 3yo). Latin News will start a raging fav in this (if unable to get a run from emerg in the Straddy) but there are other chances. Carrara’s Melbourne form last preparation was against the top shelf and, with Nashy up, looks fantastic E/W value. Tune in early to watch the Race 2 scamper where the outstanding First Command resumes and, despite a poor gate, he should whip these on his Spring form. A seriously good day’s racing.

Tread warily at Flemington as, unfortunately, there are problems with the track…not only have we been deluged with rain, but the grass has an “infection” which is making the going inconsistent. The awaited clash of stablemates in the Creswick Stakes, the last black type for colts here this season, is not to be, as Our Baby Bonus will now head to the Valley on Monday, leaving this race seemingly at Dubleany’s mercy. Broken looks the danger. If you want to punt at Flemington, be sure to watch the “pattern” and back horses with Heavy form.

A couple of other points to conclude.

Firstly, today’s Elvstroem Classic at Swan Hill (the maiden win for both Elvstroem and Haradasun) was won today on debut by their half-brother Altius, by Redoute’s Choice out of the great Frank Tagg broodmare Circles of Gold.

And, although this is nominally a racing preview, it would be foolhardy to overlook the punting bonanza that is the World Cup. This is a gambling phenomenon and I just advise everyone to shop around. There are incredible lures and bonuses on offer – a fair hint that the Bookies see it as a potential “kill” – and the smart shopper will look to find an edge. I recommend a site such as that presents the options from various “corporates”, or google for others who might source the best deals…or maybe just try Webjet for a last ditch bargain fight to Brissie!


  1. Some updates:
    -Swift Alliance scr so Latin News gets in to the Straddy and is thus out of the Guineas. Still $6+ about Carrara.

    -According to RVL’s website, these Brisbane races are vital for pre-post punters.
    2 years ago the ill-fated Viewed won the Brisbane Cup en route to Bart’s 12th”First Tuesday” Cup.
    Last year Kav’s Shocking was a gallant second in the Qld Derby before taking Flemington’s Spring crown.
    Its accepted that horses race then winter “well” up north then have a crack at the Melbourne riches. Take heed.
    -Flemington Heavy. Sires to follow?
    -Mr Molokai (again) in R7.

    Sadly I’m off now to earn some pennies at a mind-numbing seminar. Good luck!

  2. Crio,

    I haven’t even looked at Flemington, the value and unbiased racing is, as you say, up north. (or south east of here)

    The Derby is an interesting race. It is probablry the only Aus Derby where the fillies are often a chance. Not flash fillies either mind you. I tried Keyora last time and while he would appear to be better suited on todays Flemington surface, I will have another go.

    I have backed Culminate in the Straddy. A half length second to Typhoon Tracey in the Coolmore and great overall form in Group races in NZ makes me think she is overs. I have backed her e/w at $41 and backed Whobe at $3 s/o to pay for same. I reckon he is in extremely well with 57 and really looks the winner to me. I will be happy to take the $440 to $40 a drum Culminate.

  3. I need someone to count Phelan Ready’s legs – just taken $75 the win in the Straddy. He was disappointing last week when fancied in similar race and is very well in at the weights for a Gr1 winner.
    Had a look at the backawinner website. Looks a good one – thanks for the tip!

  4. No worries. Sorry the piece went up so late last night.
    Phelan Ready has convictions other than a long forgotten purple patch.$75 is not good odds a loser, though I do like the local horse/hoop angle. Not for mine.
    Elvis’ Culminate is an interesting lead.

  5. Elvia – Whobe is $3.80 on betfair

  6. My tip is Melito for the Stradbroke. Yet again, the horse seems just as primed as the Argentinian striker who is ready to lead his side deep into the world cup. Melito (the horse) has dropped some 3.5 kilos since its last main outing in the 10,000, where it finished a very respectable third. It has also drawn well (4) and is very consistent of late, coming home with a place finish in its last 5 outings. Probably an each-wayer, but I think it can win.

  7. It often gets under the radar Tommy. Is 1400m the issue?
    I’ve finished my tedious course and, not working at Flemington today, can fire up the computer and TVN.

  8. Budge,

    When did Phelan Ready win your undying support? I was going to say I will give you 80’s, but you would probably take me up and history tells me I would end up a broke clown covered in egg. However, I reckon the two he has won are the only two he will ever win.

  9. Andrew Fithall says

    Went to Flemington today Chris. Went looking for you but now know you were absent. Was there for three or four races. One bet. One collect. I am, generally, a bad punter; therefore a small punter.

  10. Sorry to have missed you Andrew. I’m guessing it was pretty lacklustre in the ring, though the “assault” last week managed to inject some tension and macabre excitement and I’m sure rumours still abound. What did you back? I noticed the first winner paid a heap and is by Johannesburg – he is a sensational wet track sire. And what about Jungle Ruler?..there’s one who grows a leg in the mud.

  11. Andrew Fithall says

    Backed Pennon each way. Liked the Payne-Payne combination. Compensated (just) for my wife’s bet in the previous race on the Smerdon-Payne horse. It ran a long last.

  12. mark freeman says

    Crio still keen to know what was the drama in the ring last week – only thing I saw was a par in the current bun saying something abt your man McLachlan and a disaffected punter.

    Straddie a fantastic race as always and what a finish. I had a big crack at tri and FF, and got the first four.

    But in the wrong phearken order.

  13. Might not be the right forum here Freezer. Too many rumours abound. I saw it all, as a good “baggie” would, and David was king hit from behind minutes after another very unsavoury incident that he was going down to investigate…Leah had been assaulted and insulted at Frank Hudson’s stand. Some distant family stoush and very unfortunate…certainly it seemed that the McLauchlan’s were entirely innocent; the assailants nasty. Security, as usual, was awful.
    As you might recall, I was horrified by the behaviour in the betting ring on Derby Day – and you’ve seen me enjoy a beer, so I am not totally intolerant. A leading Darwin bookmaker stood next to me, appalled, for a while. He said that he’d have a guard at each end of the betting ring at each meeting up there, and here we were so vulnerable at Flemington. Security line up at the exit gates to make sure people aren’t smuggling over-priced, flat, plastic cups of Toohey’s out the gate!!!

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