Crio’s Racing: Spring is Sprung

For much of the year I refer to the Racing Calendar but the 10 weeks beginning in September are learned by rote and pencilled early in to my diary.

It was a surprise, then, to see my Flemington notation last week as we headed off to the Valley for the Feehan. I’d forgotten about “the swaps” which mean that Craiglee Stakes Day, always the start of footy finals, is now this Saturday’s programme, rebadged recently as the Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Hats, Heels and Horses Makybe Diva Event. In it’s traditional incarnation it was a terrific meeting as many of us filed away the beanies and replaced loud mouthed opinions with “side of mouth” good oil!

Flemington have certainly won out in the interchange as this looks a ripper raceday again at HQ and, supported by a Group One card at Rosehill, no arvo AFL and a beautiful weather forecast,we might just get a few people on track (not in the ring regrettably) to give spring some impetus.

My form’s as wobbly as a drunk at midnight but I’m happy to throw in some early options and hope for input to fine tune these observations.

MR1- 3yo fillies step out (1100m, SW+P, Listed – named for the top notcher Cap D’antibes). Tony Gollan’s got a couple here which are keeping the market very wide. Reckon that Sabatini (1) was terrific at Caulfield. Happy to stick with her.

MR2- (2000m) Marksmanship (4) has ambitions way beyond this. One to beat. Who Shot Thebarman (2) likely improver.

MR3- (1700m) This is the low stakes filler the clubs insert to make 9 races. The United States (5) looked promising at MV. Prince of Penzance (3) a chance. The big query has to be Shikarpour (11), especially at the 20/1+. Its Australian debut was a monumental flop over 1600m in the Listed Golden Mile at Bendigo. On that day it was plunged in to favouritism. The track was wet. He finished last and has not been seen since. The Lloyd Williams imports have to be respected when reappearing at Flemington. Early speculation might be well rewarded.

MR4- (1400m, Listed) The boom on Divan(11) is huge. His fans reckon you’ll not get 6/1 again. If forced to bet, I’d nibble E/W on Moonovermanhattan (4) at 33/1.

MR5- Let’s Elope deserves a classic race named in her memory (1400m, Mares, G2). Commanding Jewel (1) is very good. Plenty of weight but heaps of talent. An emerging star.

MR6- (1200m, 3yo). This race kind of usurped the old Ascot Vale which I reckon was second billing on this day in decades gone? Still a good chance to watch the up-and-comers.

Rich Enuff (5) was phenomenal last run and presents at good odds again. There’ll be money for a heap of these and plenty of black bookers to follow.

MR7- (1600m, WFA, G1) Always loved this race. Logically, Dissident (9) wins and Puissance De Lune (6) runs the Quinella (though I’d be more inclined to back PDL win and save place).

MR8- The Bobbie Lewis…seriously time-honoured (1200m, Quality, G3). This is a classic old fashioned straight track, big field handicap raffle. El Roca’s setback worries me but his talent covers these.

MR9- (1400m, Listed) Our Hand Of Faith (13) at middle pinners odds for the get out.

Rosehill hosts Sydney’s first Group One for the season but I’ve not kept up with their wretched weather form. Despite the usual bullish assurances of “improving track” and “clearing weather” I’m anticipating a slow downgraded to Heavy and no bets.

In the Golden Rose (SR7, 3yo, 1400m, G1) pundits suggest that P.G.Moody holds the keys. I reckon the 2 is way overs at 50/1.

There are plenty of other good races up there though how the track “plays” is critical to punting confidence.

I’m glad to see the Theo Marks Stakes (SR4, 1400m, G2) marked in the form guide. This is a racename I recall from younger days (when Sydney racing was only heard about on 3 way turf talk) and was always positioned on the calendar to attract a good winner – the first of which, in 1946, was the legendary Shannon, about which I’ve written in the past (if you are unfamiliar with this brilliant but eccentric champ, look up the 1946 Epsom). No such stars figure in this year’s edition but I’m a committed, though faltering, Bull Point man.

There are plenty of other good races there and elsewhere this weekend and there’s plenty of time to dissect the form between now and then…but first impressions are hard to shake.

Any tips or observations welcomed. For anyone heading out to Flemington, I’ll be on the Terry Lillis stand on the Rails. Come up and say g’day and I’ll look after you.

Good luck!


  1. Crio, great effort putting this together post your trip to Adelaide to see your mum, hope she is feeling better
    I’m right in Boban’s corner saturday, he’s come back terrifically well and loves the wide expanses of hq.
    And after B.Melham’s cold ride last start will have a nice go at Signoff as well.
    Don’t know what price Melham is in the Jockey challenge, but may be worth a dina or 2.
    As for Hoops B Werner is back in town on Top Dolly in the first, waiting for Brian Gilders and Robbie Heffernan to appear next week.

  2. back in my early days on course it was G.Pretty, J.Courtney and J.Letts!

  3. Ah , the get-out stakes, the last in Adelaide and the hordes in front of Jack Hurry’s stand in the Elms loading up on J Letts, magic days!

  4. Its a pretty ordinary meeting in Adelaide (Jock may have other thoughts) though I like the local hope Alabama Missile in the last e/w (won easily last start)
    Im trying to get my head around Melbourne so more study is needed
    By the way boys- and this will bring back memories- the annual Mindarie Halidon races are on Sunday (if ever there was an excuse for a “footy trip” this is it)
    Im trying to coax the owner of the best B and B in Cambridge UK who has links to Newmarket to give us some comments re the Poms chances for the Carnival

  5. I think Race 3 ( low stakes filler) is an interesting event. I’m following up on Bass Strait which was disappointing first up but goes around with blinkers on this time and should improve if it can get away OK. 20/1 looks allright given it has plenty of form in good stakes races in previous preps.
    Adel will be a challenge and need a few beers in me before jumping in with any selections.
    Prepared to risk Catkins in Sydney at around even money and will be having some on My Sabeel while the track is still on the affected side.

  6. El Roca is a jinx horse – scratched again today. Out for Spring.
    Fav also out of the 3rd giving some tinder to my smoky?!
    Rosehill claims to have missed the rain and be a 5. Good3 HQ

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