Crio: Are you Racing Ready?

Confirmation of Spring Racing’s arrival was apparent to venturers on the sun-drenched lawns at HQ last Saturday. Cowshedend recorded the first 2014/15 sighting of that perennial favourite – drunk dressed as Nun – whilst I watched another smudged mascara fashion disaster carry her heels (sans dignity) towards the exit mid-afternoon. An hour before the first I’d driven through that bizarre cluster of expensive clothes deckchaired around a bridge table in the exposed carpark! We don’t see that in June.

Crio Drunk Nun

The more heartening telltale sign, though, was the winning efforts of some topliners for racefans to follow through the upcoming Classics. It’s worth a quick review, at least of races 5-8, before turning the formguide to the Heath.

Commanding Jewel’s win in the Let’s Elope was brave and a sure sign that she is ready for a great campaign. Wide and weight couldn’t stop her. What next?…might she even try to get the mile and a quarter? Dear Demi was really good but might be a bit of a muncher.

Speaking of distance queries, Dissident was again emphatic and is the benchmark WFA campaigner. He is adaptable and finds the line. The Craiglee placegetters were also noteworthy – Fawkner and PdeL. Olly gave the 4th horse, Spillway, a soft, eyecatching run. Boban’s never gonna get mine until he wins again.

I liked the Quinella horses in the Danehill. Rich Enuff goes quick and likes to win. “The Cat” is rangy and will get better. Follow.

And how about Chautauqua in the Bobbie Lewis. He fair dinkum won in a canter. The big mare aside, I struggle to recall such a donkey licking down the Straight 6. Can’t wait to see his next challenge.

For us, this week’s challenge is Underwood Stakes Day out at our graveyard in Caulfield. When the Fri/Sat Prelim pattern evolved the MRC responded with a pretty successful Sunday fixturing. Nowadays the club has reverted to Saturday but, sensibly, they’ve scheduled the main race for before the unusual footy kick-off. This week’s meeting has nowhere near the depth or quality as last Saturday’s, but there are 3 races of note.

The obvious focus will be the Group 1 1800m WFA Underwood (MR7, 4pm). The timing and conditions of this race may have changed over the years – from a Williamstown mile to today’s classic spring prep distance, popularised during its Thursday Show Day incarnation – but the constant has been quality winners…take your pick from Heroic, Phar Lap and Ajax (thrice) in the Willy days to Tobin Bronze, Sobar, Northerly and So You Think (plenty of Cox Plate form there!?) over more recent decades. The scary stat for punters this week is the near 30 year drought for Mares in this race – even the great Atlantic Jewel was undone by Dundeel last year – which does not augur well for nominal fav, Silent Achiever. With a well publicised dearth of quality middle distance WFA contenders, she and Foreteller are the logical selections. I suppose Happy Trails deserves to go in also.

MR’s Quaddy kicks off a race earlier with the Naturalism (MR6, 2000m, Quality, G3). Spillway, on the quick backup from a cuddled Craiglee, should win – the weights are out and he is ready to produce. 11 and 10 the value placings.

The other race which deserves attention is the Sprint, scheduled tight against first bounce at the ‘G. Pity this ripper field will thus get overlooked. It is exciting to see Samaready resume, though I’d expected her likely 1st up tilt the next Friday night. I’m a big fan. The 25/1 Enquare may be the overs as this Qld mare might be pretty smart…though she’ll want to be in a crack field with formlines from all over the place.

Obviously the races are overwhelmed by footy finals hype but it would be folly not to at least stay abreast of emerging form.

Up in Sydney there are big name races with predominantly small fields…more good horses than down here but spread more thinly over the G1, 3xG2 and a G3.

Again, there’s much to monitor.

Earthquake faces her conqueror, Winx, in the Tea Rose (SR4, 1400m, 3yoF, SW, G2). Five of the other six starters are pretty smart, but these two might be absolute top drawer. “Each of 2!”.

The G2 Hill Stakes (SR5, 2000m, WFA) may be overrated, but the Team Hawkes form is not. Entirely Platinum (4) is the one to beat (the hoop’s alight also) and stablemate La Amistad (8) must rate with the best of the rest.

The big Group One highlight is the George Main (SR6, 1600m, WFA). A decent Randwick track means no precedents for form eagles! Waller has only 3 runners but a trifecta is not unlikely! Analysts will need to look at speed maps here – tricky race with perhaps the ATC Oaks winner a bolter improver.

The Shorts (SR8, 1100m, SW+P, G2) finishes their day up there – this race seems to have been thrown all over the place yet still garners a good field and a high rating. Villa Verde’s on it’s last chance with me. Terravista the obvious.

It is a great sporting weekend and racing plays a significant role – no complaints from pub patrons with multi screens of top quality attractions.

For those with broader visions, there are always meetings to help escape the rat race – the famous Cumby (Come-By-Chance) races are on again…we wrote about them last year and Oges will doubtless add a comment for those uninitiated.

The weeks will fly by from hereon. Footy wraps up and racing hits the ground running at full gallop. Don’t be left behind.

Good luck!


  1. Another week another race meeting. Loved your description of the drunks Boys -more to come
    I will follow up on the dismal performance of Flying For Me last start and have another go at Morphettville
    If you want to go to Cumby it’s a 70 km drive north of Coonamble basically in a paddock where dehydration won’t be a problem-getting somewhere after may be. It’s the bucket list meeting (sometime)

  2. very confused re Sydney track conditions – forecast seems OK yet footy media keeps telling us there’s a deluge up there!

  3. Oges, have never heard of Cumby before, have added to bucket list.
    Crio, kept watching Boban race looking for an excuse, did cop a check early and may have been better off just sitting back for one big crack at them, but considering Dissident did so much work up front, there is no excuse at all.. not good enough.
    Pretty dissapointing fields after last weeks lick smacking lot, but i’m with you on Spillway, will be my one go this week.
    Be interested to see how Samaready has come back in the 8th, can anyone put a claim in for Spirit Dance? 1 for 1 G2 1for 1 G3
    Happy punting

  4. Cowshedend,
    This from crio’s racing, September 23, 2011…

    It pays to look at calendars and maybe pinpoint a town which offers something different. Too late for this year, but for example, I am fascinated by the very title of a NSW meeting this week – the Come-By-Chance Picnics (sounds like a swingers’ gig!). The town (pop. 187) even gets a run in a Banjo ballad:

    But my languid mood forsook me, when I found a name that took me,

    Quite by chance I came across it — `Come-by-Chance’ was what I read;

    No location was assigned it, not a thing to help one find it,

    Just an N which stood for northward, and the rest was all unsaid.

    There are gems like this to be enjoyed everywhere. I’ve added it to my “must do”- check the flyers

  5. Crio,

    I’ll just focus on Caulfield where my omen bet in the 1200m race is “Forever Loved”

    Great meeting with large, even, quality fields. Sydney can only dream.

    Don’t know if I am a victim of the hype, or whether it is a good name or what, but my special is Cauthen in the last. New trainers pre race comments suggested he would improve enormously with the first run under his belt, and I will throw intergers all over the shop in a Quaddie with him one out.

    I will take another one with less of a number flurry with Zauban one out in the first leg. Reckon she possesses a fair degree of quality, is very well bred, and will benefit from ok first and second up efforts.. And who can resist the “Red, White Cap” livery of freaks past.

  6. Elvis,
    Absolutely with you on Cauthen. Should be too good for that lot if anywhere near ready.

  7. Crio/Budge,

    The other one I like at The Heath tomorrow is Lady Quamquat in the 5th. Lightly raced, very classy, and given to Darren Weir for an Australian campaign. Will go very close fresh.

  8. Crio,

    Sorry, off my meds. The one out in the 2nd of my Quads is Zanbagh. Where in sciences name did I get Zauban? Who knows. Anyway, yeah I like Z A N B A G H in the first leg.

  9. Sounds like you need the Pharmacy to rush deliver a couple of casks!

  10. Budge,

    One of many addictions aside, I am more than pretty happy you like Cauthen also, Might make for a potentially bigger slice of Quad Pie come discussions tomorrow. And we are off the back of a win.

  11. You know Spring racing is here when Elvis returns and the match race Elvis vs Budge is on.

  12. Oges,

    Nice comment, but “match” never comes into it. The Budge gives me a touch up every time. I just can’t compete with such hardcore pragmatism. The off seasons give me a chance to regenerate some lost confidence. Hopefully enough to get me through the Spring and Budge’s enduring onslaught.

  13. Great to hear from you again elvis – no splinters up your Khyber…wish I had such conviction. I’m loading up on Spillway and otherwise cautious. Am considering trying Bullpit and am a Cauthen fan. Ignore that hardheaded realism from Budge – we love your romanticism (if you can afford it!). Will cheer for Ern in the 1st.

  14. Welcome back Elvis

    You have brought the Budge out of hibernation, or is it the other way around?

    More coming, gathering thoughts after many beers……..

  15. Jock, good to hear from you.
    Nearly smashed my TV just now as bloody Kevin Sheedy was interviewed at Singapore races! Must say he’s mellowed though I still find him utterly annoying.
    Tough business over here but saw Pete and son at MV the other week so at least there are some diehards still around. My boy is in the runup to VCE Exams and hopes to front for 6th consecutive Saturday meeting at Heath tmrw. MV nect Friday night a lock!

    Should we be considering the gelded Fast’n’Rocking in a pretty good MR3 tmrw?

  16. Definitely a chance now that he’s gelded. Anatina still the one to beat in that race though.

  17. Good to know the family is still attending.
    Nephew is a budding punt victim who has mates in the D Weir stable so some good comes of it from time to time.
    I note the rail is out 9 meters at Caulfield so it will be hard to come from behind at least in the early races. African Pulse is probably a good hope at odds in the 3rd and Bloomingdale Miss in the 5th for the same reason.
    Caro Gris went OK last time and should be a hope in the Naturalism and I will have something on Super Cool at big odds in the Underwood…..Kav mentioned when interviewed a few weeks ago that he should do something 3rd up and with Newitt on will probably race forward.I thought its run last start was OK.
    I agree with Cauthen in the last, too good at it’s best
    I’ll be on Criterion in Syd.
    In Adel Race 4 Get Pronto is a chance at good odds and also Detox ( I should try that) in the 6th. Argee McLaren was a really good run at Balak and will be HTB in race 7 It’s hard to line up the Iconic form but generally Adel sprinters are up to Melb class, its normally the stayers who struggle.
    If Port beat Hawthorn tomorrow, I’m moving to somewhere else for the week or I’ll knock out 5 teeth and only talk in single syllables so I fit in.

  18. Jock, I’ve tried to talk myself in to African Pulse at the big odds, but really it is hard to mount a case for anything other than 1000m on wet.
    Super Cool went very well but he is another of my “don’t waste any more” stable.

  19. Crio…..I’m feeling lucky.

    Budge FYI, Roger ( just back from 4 weeks in Europe) won 13K from $38 stake 2 days before he left due to gear changes and other miracles, so we are all now due if there is any justice. I just had to re-live it with him for the last couple of hours, tried to drink through the replay but it didn’t work.

  20. Jock,

    Laughed my face off with your comment about the prospect of a Port win. Must be a humpy in Smith St Collingwood where you could take your toothless suicidal self if they win. I will try your selections for the two sole reasons that (a) I reckon you are a good judge and (b) (see(a)..

  21. Was that some more stress relief for Roger?
    I can’t really come in on African Pulse. The extra 100 metres is a worry. Agree on Criterion. Different class to that lot. Also like Toydini in the George Main.
    Super Cool looked fat last start but ran ok. Might just need one more but worth a flutter at the big odds. Gris Caro goes in the multiples in the Naturalism along with Zanbagh and Let’s Make Adeal. Plus the obvious Spillway and Our Voodoo Prince. Prepared to risk Entirely Platinum and Bonfires so there’s your quinella.

  22. C) jock’s been tipping about as well as me and is due!

  23. Gris Caro
    Winner, winner chicken dinner

  24. You didn’t exactly declare it jock and your other 6 did no good so you can ease up on the big crow!
    Good on you if you had something on it. Elvis and I had Cauthen one out in the last leg of the quaddy so that result was totally predictable!

  25. Hope you relished the praise from Budge there Jock! Had a snip of Gris Caro myself though also backed Spillway which was top pick.
    Needed the support for Fast’n’Rocking so appreciate the Budge encouragement.
    It’s bob win was countered by Happy Trails’ in the G1 which I backed straight out at 15…16 in to 10!
    Happy with my knock on African Pulse (v well backed) and Super Cool. Also never even factor Lidari. Send you broke.
    Fell in to site’s Cauthen hype (E/W no less!!). Always preferred Pat Eddery!

    Haven’t seen or heard Sydney stuff today (went on to footy/pub)
    Look fwd to recaps
    Thx all for banter and opinions

  26. Spillway still waiting to get out, if an apprentice had ridden him for luck like that the press would have crucified him, but not our Ollie!

  27. Watch the run of Super Cool. He’s ready for a big run in the Turnbull.

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