Crio’s Racing: Feehan Stakes day

The calendar has been turned. It is officially Spring. Group races abound. The appropriate media releases are gushing about hats and horses for the Carnival. The sun is shining and it is going to be glorious at the Valley for the old Feehan Stakes….but, is it just a grumpy old man’s view down a half empty glass or, as especially evidenced by Acceptors this Saturday, are we looking at a dearth of “star power” chasing the big prizes?

Take the G2 WFA mile for example. In its heyday this was a teaser for the Cox Plate. They didn’t always manage the double on the CV – Fiorente (2013), Whobe (2009/10) and the unlucky Lad Of The Manor (05/06), Naturalism (1992) and Better Loosen Up (1990) were all good Feehan winners, “Valley horses” and genuine WFA calibre. Top notchers managed both…El Segundo, Northerly, Sunline, Rubiton, Strawberry Road, So Called…an impressive roll call.

What we’ve got this year (MR7, 1600m, WFA, G2) seems more of a Sandown Cup (in it’s handicap incarnation) collection, with the likes of The Cleaner and Lidari well fancied. The interest, inevitably, will be on the performance of Cup fav The Offer (2), and TVN will get the “Gai grabs” afterwards for promos. For those betting, I reckon that Foreteller (1) might improve and, logically, Star Rolling (9) the hardest for him to beat.

Uncomfortably sandwiched between the obligatory scandalous $40k Benchmark and the start of the Quaddy is the focus race of the day in Melbourne, The McEwen Stakes (MR5, 1000m, WFA, G2), in which Lankan Rupee returns. He’ll be very short and, at WFA, should just be too good for some handy opponents. This is one galloper which just might blaze across the features and be the local hero repelling the expected overseas invasion. Racing Victoria certainly hopes so.

For those with Quaddy obligations, early discussions begin with:-

MR6- 1200m, 3yoF, SWP. Good race. Sabatini (2) was impressive at Caulfield. Interestingly her stablemate runs also, with C.Williams up (Pittsburgh Flyer 13). Kav’s yard finally looks to be back on track so include his (10) Pickin’ Time.

MR7- 1,9

MR8- 10. Maybe watch the 7 at odds.

MR8- 9 @10/1

Up at Randwick there’s a host of Group races of questionable depth and on a track that urges caution. This morning (Thursday) it has somehow been upgraded to a 6 with a fine weather notation, despite the Bureau insisting on showers throughout the week. As little Frankie used to warn us at the trots, “Something is fishing”!

Great interest will surround the scheduled return of Earthquake in the Furious Stakes (SR3, 1200m, 3yoF, SW, G2). She’s quoted in the red, with good testers Peggy Jean, 7/2, and Memorial, 7/1, along with Waller’s unbeaten Winx, sure to give racegoers a clear indication of how the former 2yo Champ has come back. A key race.

Following racebook order, the next of 5 consecutive Group races is the Ming Dynasty (1400m, Quality, 3yo, G3). Whilst I accept that Washington Heights has been exposed to good company (Nostradamus) I’m certainly not going to take 7/4 a maiden in a G3.

The scheduling of the Chelmsford (SR5, 1600m, WFA, G2) necessarily impacts on the Dato down here. The usual suspects, most of which handle the wet, front up again…Sacred Flyer, Royal Descent… Entirely Platinum is perceived as the horse on the up, but I’d prefer Hawspur, now at the mile, quoted 10/1.

I really struggle with the Sydney Sprints (SR6, Concorde, 1000m, SW+P, G2). Atmospherical takes another giant class leap but might be the emerging mare to follow. Her opponents may have reached their mark. No bet. Big watch.

The Tramway (SR7, 1400m, SW+P, G3) seems to be Weary’s chance to get back in to the winner’s stall.

It is time for punters to take stock and make some calls for spring. For example, Moody’s horses are flying and obviously having plenty of work before being produced – don’t be shy to follow the money in first up. Be wary of any horses who have gutbusters on soft tracks and then back up. Similarly look for jockeys in form…young Regan Bayliss is on fire at the moment but opportunities will dwindle as no-claimers become more prominent on Saturdays. Follow track trends – here in Melbourne many horses (and even stables) race better on certain tracks – MV, Caulfield and Flemington are vastly different circuits. Decide what weighting to put on barriers/weight/jockey/conditions. And, most importantly, stake carefully. The best gamblers are patient. Two months today until the Melbourne Cup.

Good luck!


  1. You’ll have to remind me why Lad Of The Manor was unlucky. Certainly Naturalism and BLU fall (pun half intended) into the category of unlucky to complete the double in the same year.
    Looking at the roll call of Feehan winners puts a spring in my step as I was certainly on most of them!

  2. Mate, weakest Feehan i can remember, and if there is one area I’m pretty much across is weak Feehans!
    Even though it’s listed as a G2, reckon it’s not much better than The Cleaner met last time here. Ran them off their legs Sunline style last time out, and reckon he will do the same again.
    I’m with you on Regan Bayliss, who will use the 3kg claim well on Text’N’Hurley.
    Watched the Video of Warwarick last start here, looked gone when they sprinted at the school, but came again and was finishing better than any of them on the line, the Cox distance will suit.

  3. Back in SA with no tips this week as wet Adelaide tracks have caused the locals to scratch some of their entries
    I will watch some of the Melbourne races with interest though my track record in Spring is woeful

  4. The Cleaner has a decent record at this, trip on this track. On Sunday i’m interested in Calke Abbey @ Wang. Three consecutive wins, and hoping it can maintain that form to continue its rise in the rankings.


  5. Crio,

    I think you are very much on the ball about finding Jockeys in form, probably apprentices though will soon be banished to the provincials for a few months. I’m a big fan of N Hall, M Rodd and D Lane because they can get the choccys when I’m on board. I notice Nick hall is picking up quite a few mick price horses at the moment.

    I agree that the Data/Feehan isn’t a great race on paper but something’s got to win. I thought that Pakal which has gone well fresh before is a big chance because with speed on he could sprint very quickly at the end after a cushy run.

    Hippopus will be HTB in the first after a couple of runs and was OK 2nd up.And look out for Anudjawan in the 4th, it was a really good run last time out ( watched it a few times to ensure I didn’t have horses mixed up) and that was Rodds first ride on it, I reckon they will both benefit from the outing and be a big improver in a poor field ( has won a mighty 2 of 43 and I’m typing this sober).
    In Adel, Almighty Bullett didn’t have any luck at Mildura and goes extremely well on the Parks track, if the rider can use barrier one could win at good odds.

  6. Late news – Flying for Me in the Get Out Stakes in Adelaide (tip from mate )

  7. Thanks Oges

  8. Good to see you back Oges.
    Thing going around in 3rd at Moe tomorrow called Shufetish, won Cranbourne trial by 10L, 3 of the things it beat in the trial are running in town tomorrow

  9. win or lose, I love that sort of tip Cowshedend.

    A tip for you…think TL not going MV tmrw so the big Number 13 especially dangerous
    See you on course

  10. Skip of Skipton says

    I have mail for White House Lady. Also mail for Eloping because its around the Valley vs. Lankan Rupee. Hooked in the Tramway in Sydney, good odds.

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