Crio’s Racing: The Silk Department

I love Caulfield Guineas Day. If you intend to take any interest at all in this Spring’s Racing, act now. 5 Group Ones, including 4 at the Heath, plus the Manangatang Cup – something, indeed for everyone!

For those unwilling or unable to tackle the hordes (or the admittance/catering) down Dandy Road, the marathon programme concludes at “pub friendly” times.

The challenge for punters is, of course, to find winners for this week and then beyond.

There are many traps.

Too many bets is an obvious one.

I used to quite like those tipping comps, believing they gave you an interest across the whole day. In fact, it forced me to a decision on each race – and, if it saluted without my coin, I was disappointed. So it became self-defeating. A much better approach is to be able to put a line through many of the races as “no bet”.

An ongoing danger is to become “attached” to a horse. True – some perform especially well at a certain track, distance and time of the year and hence seasonal punters can “luck in” on familiar names – All Silent was one recently. Whilst these are factors worth weighting, what becomes too common is the “backed it last start” guilt triggering a “can’t let it get up on me now” response. Good money after bad.

Be detached and rational. Watch replays. Read Stewards’ Reports. Be prepared to have been wrong. It may not always be the jockey’s fault.

Have a bank and don’t divert from your “disposable”.

The aim, for most of us, is to enjoy the racing and the challenge with hopefully some collects as incentive. Losing badly is not fun and is not conducive to an ongoing relationship with the punt.

Having said that, canny punters find this a winning meeting (eliminates me!).

The “right money” usually predicts which horses are already screwed down and ignores those still fat.

It is a great card to pore over the form considering the various conundrums.

Here are some to help get started:-


1- Debutante Stakes (2yo, 1000m, SW, Listed) all unraced. Watch.

2- Thoroughbred Club Stakes (3yoF,1200m, SWP, G3) Earthquake is back at the scene of her autumn glory. She’s not looked the same as is often the case with champ 2yo girls progressing. Odds on, look on. More Radiant is the query.

3- Weekend Hussler Stakes (H’cp, 1400m, Listed) Dan Excel has 63.5kgs!. Turquoise King has the Hawkes polish. Consider 2,3,9 in exotics.

4- Schillaci Stakes (1000m, WFA, G2)…no wonder real oldtimers get confused…this is the old Chirnside and the old Schillaci is nowadays next week’s Caulfield Sprint! It is a fascinating race, despite the relative dearth of sprint stars and it being a “non-Chautauqua week”. Which contender will emerge? I’m expecting Not Listenin’tome (now in the Moore yard) to stand up. The return of gun juveniles Overreach and Rubick creates great interest. Platelet, Gregers and others keep them honest. One of the day’s real highlights.

5- Herbert Power Stakes (2400m, G2, Quality) I’d risk the toppy at 3/1. Sangster huge last start. Big Memory might be the one.

6- Caulfield Stakes (2000m, WFA, G1) We’re not flush with WFA booms but this is a good race with serious depth, a factor missing from some exhibition gallops of recent years…Atlantic Jewel, So You Think, etc. Happy Trails barely went around last week. Rodd sacked. Honest Olly on.

Fawkner looks strong again this prep. Dissident is a gun. Foreteller genuine at G1. I could spend hours on this race. I’ll be carefully scrutinising Side Glance, the ultimate G1 globetrotter, as a Cox Plate nominee. He tried MV first up last year, freshened from the Arlington Millions. After pulling like a monkey on heat, he faded but backed up to win the Mackinnon. His itinerary since has been remarkable: no wins but competitive in all G1’s. The Hong Kong Cup at Shatin, The Al Maktoum then the World Cup at Meydan, the Singapore International, the Queen Anne at Ascot, the United Nations at Monmouth Park (New Jersey) and, again, the Arlington Million. This prep it is Caulfield and then to MV for the hardened warrior. Saturday, though, I’m reckoning on Happy Trails (but probably no bet).

7- Toorak Handicap (1600m, G1) wanna feel old?…40 yrs since the mighty Leilani won this time-honoured Handicap. None of these are in her class, but few have been. Always an interesting race with barriers, tactics and track bias being significant factors. I need a lot more time on this. Won’t discount the 11.

8- Thousand Guineas (3yoF, 1600m, SW) A race oft knocked but with a stellar winners’ list. Does not appear to be a vintage edition. Heaps of query middle pinners. Help please!

9- Caulfield Guineas (3yo, Sw, G1) Part of the fascination of this “stallion maker” is the consideration of gun sprint juniors reaching the mile opposed to developing Derby types, all confounded by the quirky circuit. Rich Enuff has been emphatic and a win here would elevate him to rare 3yo status – let’s hope he can perform and enthrall the crowds on course. Shooting To Win may be the colt on the up.

10- Sprint Final (1200m, Mares, SWP) Typical tough girls’ race to close (6:15pm). Gig hasn’t done much wrong to be at 16/1. Chocolate wheel required.

Phew! What an epic. Now I have to find time to grab a formguide and make some decisions – and observations and directives gladly welcomed. There’s also The Spring Championship Stakes (SR6, 2000m, 3yo) at Randwick where First Seal will be in the red, but I’ve got enough to ponder down here in Melbourne.

The weather’s been dry and firm tracks have become a discussion topic. With the lunatic fringe ready to pounce on any mishap, let’s hope horses, hoops, owners and punters get to see a superb day’s racing on a decent surface.

I’ll be there, apparently swinging the bag in the Skyspan enclosure for Geelong fanatic Wayne Elliott.

Good luck!


  1. Sounds like you are really getting serious Crio. I was disappointed there was no Mangatang Cup tip. It should be compulsory that every commenter on the thread this weekend has to give their Manangatang Cup tip. Spanish Halo for me. Jamestown form is good form.
    I urge all thoroughbred enthusiasts to listen into this week’s Almanac Podcast with Shane Anderson from RSN. Even a cynical old reform(ing) punt drunk like me got wrapped in his stories and enthusiasm.
    Apparently he own the tail of something called Sonntag that goes alright.

  2. ha…very deceptive Peter. I’ve had no time to get serious but, nevertheless, know that this is the Saturday for “true believers”. Weiry had Clang’n’Bang in early noms for Manang but didn’t accept – i had enough races to peruse and hope ‘knackers can give us a lead at any meeting. Reckon we should call on the “Mayor of Manang”, old almanac fav, Adam McNicol, for a preview. Here’s an old link I had for the town and his wonderful book –

    must get on to the podcast some time soon

  3. Crio – you (and a glass of pinot) have got me going. I love the terminology of the track. “Couldn’t win at Mangatang” being the cruellest of jibes.
    “Further back than Walla Walla” which is a town near Albury, but also a trotter that was once handicapped 288 yards behind the front marker (half a lap on the old saucer tracks).
    “He’s a useless bloody Drongo” has passed into folklore from a horse that never won in 37 starts. But was second in the VRC Derby and St Leger, and fifth in a Sydney Cup. Poorly placed? I guess the prizemoney was good, and that weighted it out of handicaps.

  4. love that Peter.
    My Uncle used to tell his son he’d be “unplaced in a 4 horse maiden at Manangatang”.

  5. Queensland horses who travel to Melbourne for the spring are often underrated (Vo Rogue). There is a potential superstar in the Caulfield Guineas that is still at a reasonable price ($34 in early markets, now $7). ($61 for the Cox Plate). If the race was at Flemington I would declare it. If you get a chance look at its last 4 runs on video. Brazen Beau proved the form last week in Sydney. The Favourite is good, but it will work to get across and the pressure will be on. Has to be a doubt at 1600m.
    Looks Like the Cat will be storming home. $7 each way is a reasonable bet.
    Overreach in the sprint race at $4.20 and Kuamon at $21 great value.
    Japanese horses in the Cup.
    Queensland Correspondent

  6. cowshedend says

    Crio, ripping wrap as usual, fantastic that the MRC have moved the Thousand Guineas to the Saturday rather than the Wednesday, makes it a ripper meeting, although how bloody hard is it!
    Muz, Looks Like The Cat is a good crow,amazed if it’s not in the first 3 and would be ideally suited to a 10F WFA race, Cox or Mackinnon.
    In that same race it ran in last start, have a look at Our Vespa, was nearly tipped over the fence at the 200, was going to finish in the first couple.
    Snowden gave Shooting To Win a huge wrap the other morning on UZ, but with most of the chances drawn wide, luck will decide it

  7. Why am I playing bowls again-I should be over at the track with such a great card
    More later

  8. Welcome aboard Muz. We need a new perspective. Love “the Cat” but, from the outset, he looks so gangly – an autumn colt perhaps? And Caulfield can be tricky – if he handles it, the 2000m Classic could be his target down here.
    Qld horses, and those who winter up there, have had big impacts on Melbourne’s spring – Show a Heart was a particular fav as is Buffering and nowadays Tony Gollan, Rob Heathcote and D.Browne are major players. Pundits reckon, though, that Brissie racing is really weak at present?…Melbourne form may not also be especially strong so it will be fascinating to watch the converging formlines.

  9. cowshedend says

    As hard as the Caulfield Stakes is, Dissident is flying,and for what it’s worth, of the last 10 Memsie winners, only 3 have gone on to contest this race for 2 wins and a 3rd.

  10. Crio,

    Yes the Cat is gangly, but he will be charging …
    Queensland racing not strong after 15 years of dodgy (corrupt?) and inept administration … in Queensland … never.
    Cat should have beaten Almalad and Brazen Beau over 1600 at Eagle Farm but for some poor choices by D. Browne …
    Was going better than Rich Enuff at the end of 1400 and was going as well as it at the end of 1200 …
    I am on the Cat at $34 and $21 … and tempted to go again at $7
    I can’t be dissuaded … GET ON THE CAT
    Kuamon $21 (form around Hallowed Crown, Scissor Kick and Almalad) will be coming with THE CAT when the others are paddling over the final 100 …
    Would love to claim Browne (Kiwi?) and Heathcote (Tasmanian?) as Queenslanders.
    Gollan horses flying.

  11. Crio, how do you rate Crackerjack King, and Go Indy go? I have never liked betting at Caulfiield, but i’m thinking of putting that pair in to the appropriate combinations with Dissident I.e, Quinella, Duet and All Up.

    Pity the fields are so poor at Manangatng. I’d like to go one year, maybe 2015. Anyhow, we’ll be off 2 the Avoca Cup next Saturday.


  12. cowshedend says

    Glen, Crackerjack King was a huge run last start, you could do a heap worse than donating there.
    Crio, It’s last gasp saloon for me and Sign Off tomorrow, fell into bloody cups doubles again and took it into the two Japanese horses. He was shocking at the Valley when The Cleaner had him off the bit 800 out.

  13. As much as I like The Cat, he is Karaman while Rich Enuff does a good impression of Manikato. Unless Almalad puts pressure on (in which case Rich enuff might just take a sit anyway), I can’t see him being beaten.
    Very much in the mould of another great Caulfield Guineas winner Our Maizcay

  14. The trainer has a high opinion of Go Indy Go so I will await Jocks verdict on its ability
    Glen I am told it is a very good horse with above average ability
    Cowshedend- email coming via the Chief
    It will be good to see how the imports fare tomorrow -Budge are you still keen on the Japanese horses?

  15. There was a really interesting letter in the Post last week which doused some of the Japanese hype, pointing out that, whilst their stayers appear superior, the ones journeying down here are not off the top shelf. Might still be too good.

  16. Budge,

    You have a great record of amazing declarations (see Zabeel and Encosta at stud and Black Whatsername after start 4 or 5 ) but mentioning Rich Enuff and Manikato in the same sentence is akin to likening Beyonce to Chrissie Hynde.

    Anyway, that aside, seems every thing I like lately has Shit Lips Oliver on board. No different this week. Fare Well was a great run last start at Caulfield against the males. Never really got a crack. Back to her own sex and an ounce of luck wins at around $13 ($20 sans Shit Lips)

    I also like Go Indy Go in the 1000 Guineas. Leon Mac declared her the best he had ever trained. Something went south at Flemington first up, and flew home last start and appears back to her best. Besides, Perksy has the knack of turning shit into shares in Beyonce somehow.

  17. Anyone got a Toorak push?

  18. Keen to stick with Commanding Jewel in the Toorak. reckon that night at the Valley was very suss. Anything that sat outside the leader was first horse beaten all night. She is the best horse in the race and will be at decent odds for once. Atlante on the good track the danger.

  19. Not keen on the European horses on a Good 3 track. Will be closer to a 2 by the time they get to run tomorrow.
    Interesting with the Japanese. They don’t have as many Gr1 races as us so don’t get too concerned that neither is a Gr1 winner. Their Gr1 staying races are a long way better than ours.

  20. Notice that Dan Excel is already out

  21. Nothing to do with the track. Had a throat problem.

  22. For what it’s worth the trainer had a big spruik for Merion in the Derby

  23. I’m betting blind today ( literally) and haven’t been able to even read a form guide all week but just good enough to view the fields and the online betting shop.

    Dissident a big risk at 2000 and I don’t like him, will butter up on Sertorious EW at big odds.
    I like Atlante in the toorak, would have liked Speediness if the track had some give

    Very keen Jims Journey in the 5th in Adelaide, looks a very good horse in the making.
    Azna will improve in race 7 at big odds, hoping the class jump is not too much

  24. Stone Cold Steve Baker says

    The Heath? All roads lead the Managatang Cup! The non-TAB ‘Cox Plate’ (200m for Entires only) after the last is definitely the highlight of the meeting.

  25. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Stone Cold or Stone Motherless ?

  26. Skip of Skipton says
  27. Stone Cold…how many roads?
    Think I heard Joshy Cartwright ride a running treble – fields were smallish but crowd large from what I heard. About to watch the replays on TVN.

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