Crio’s Racing: the double album

Remember the fad for double albums? In the indulgent sixties and seventies they were the height of vinyl creativity. Certainly, there were some great successes (Blonde on Blonde, Exile on Main Street….though George Martin and others have stated the “White Album” may have been better shortened) but as often as not most became tedious. After initial listening, you’d tend to find just one or two sides to which you’d return (**reminder to youngies: in those days we couldn’t skip tracks or self edit!) The risk/reward was high.


The MVRC have long been plauded as a relatively progressive Club – The Action Attraction/The Valley of Excitement – particularly I recall how under the stewardship of Ian McEwen the W S Cox Plate emerged as “The weight-for-age Championship of Australasia”. He developed twilight and Sunday meetings, made gender no barrier to Membership, covered the betting ring, put form guides in the racebook…with a “why not” attitude the MVRC was at the forefront of innovations we now take for granted. Today they have a StrathAyr surface, Night Racing and plans for a total overhaul of the course and facilities.

Bravo to them and their bravery.

By plotting their own path they’ve created an identity which, over the years, has been mostly successful. As their flagbearer, Cox Plate Day came to be regarded as arguably the best on the national calendar, with horses, fields and drama all pressure cooked in the famous saucer amphitheatre that was once Feehan’s Farm.

Fearlessly they’ve pushed on to be bigger and better – but achieving both may not be possible if this weekend’s cards are any indication.

Like the double albums, the fad for more can come at a cost. Moonee Valley have tried to create a mini-Carnival – 24 hrs within which they host a Friday Night spectacular as a prelude to the Saturday blockbuster. It is not working. Loathe to be critical, my suspicions are that there’s just not enough to go around – punters and patrons will choose, jockeys and trainers are exhausted and fields don’t maintain the desired premium quality. Arguably they are simply transitioning/conditioning a public to the inevitable Night Cox Plate. But the product needs to be protected. Last year the Friday night was a bit of a fizzer and then a Maiden took the jewel from the Cox crown. This weekend there’s a really good G1 Manikato Stakes and a fascinating Cox Plate with some good supports but, to be honest, too many races of no great consequence.

As muso critics would report, the best albums were “all killer; no filler”.


For those either attending or watching while doing the next day’s form, here’s a quick overview of the night meeting:

1- Good opener. Fast’n’Rocking is a nice horse that I’ll avoid under 4/1. If kicking off with a multi, box it with 1 and 4.

2- toppy very short. Anchor it in early quaddy.

3- poor race. One of those awful “Greys Challenge” novelties. I’m a bit of a sucker for 1 here which, at 9 yrs, arguably will never salute again. Nevertheless he’s been racing in black type and has won here so earns a penny E/W @ 33/1

4- More Radiant (3)

5- Consorting and Diamond Oasis lead the fancies but I’d be sure to put 8 and maybe even 1 in to exotics.

6- Really tough Country Cup. If only the 6 had drawn a gate. No bet.

7- Manikato Stakes (1200m, WFA, G1, $1m) Top race. Logically it is between Sydney’s boom Terravista, last yrs version of Lankan Rupee and the evergreen Buffering. I might try to forget the first up flop and tight gate and nibble the 16/1 Not Listenin’tome.

8- plenty of chances to bet tomorrow…


We have a late start on Saturday (1.15pm) and advisedly an even later start for those wanting to bet and drink to the 6.20 conclusion. Work is not really conducive to some form trawling so I’ll again just throw out some ideas and hopefully others can help join the dots with comments:-

MR4- (1200m, 3yo, SW+P, G3) Law (2) galloped brilliantly on Tuesday and if the pole is no disadvantage it should be E/W forever at 10/1. Hawkes’ are flying so Greco (6) goes in.

MR5- MV Gold Cup (2500m, SW+P, G2) not much depth here. Crowd will cheer for Precedence (1) which just loves MV. Le Roi (5) might prove the hardest to beat.

MR6- Mile (1600m, WFA, G2) Trust In A Gust (5) has to be the one under these conditions. Speediness (1) must be included in Quaddy.

MR7- Vase (2040m, 3yo, SW, G2) Always a strong race. Atmosphere (10) seems to have his hoof on the till. Duccio (6) has Hampton Court form for Gai which looks solid. Surprisingly, though, Tommy Berry has stuck with inexperienced roughie San Padre (11) which may be a significant pointer.

MR8- Cox Plate (2040m, WFA, G1) A race of so many possibilities. I’ve specked Side Glance at huge odds and will probably save on Happy Trails which is the value (despite being beaten by a maiden here last time at the trip!). Fawkner looks the logical other. 4,2,3

MR9- Mares H’cap (1600m, G3)…the old Lady Lynette get out!? Poor finale serving to help disperse the drunks. 7 E/W if you must.

If racing’s in your veins these are exciting times. Just poring over the Winning Post becomes a consuming Thursday night exercise (TV cricket in background). Finding winners can be tough but the rewards are usually pretty good. I’ll need help.

For anyone’s lucky enough to be at the Valley on Saturday, I’ve been banished “off-Broadway”, working the Wayne Elliott bookies stand near the Mounting Yard. Come up and share your thoughts.

Good luck!


  1. Everyone loves a battler and a rags to riches story in the racing game and The Cleaner in the Cox Plate provides that . It’s a big ask in a race of many chances

  2. Andrew Fithall says

    My tip – if you drink too much get a cab home. If you can, make it a black one, because Melbourne band Black Cab have a new DOUBLE album coming out November 7. And it will be all-quality.

  3. Crio,

    The “Double Album” is a fantastic analogy. You could not be more spot on. All those great McEwen innovations were pre internet accessibility and the Pokie cancer. Less is more is an adage that has sits strongly with me and essentially, the water to cordial ratio is too high.

    Given that. The Manikato is as good a sprint race as I have seen in a while. Pride is bullish about Terravista, but two have been there done that and bought the T Shirt. I will be backing Buffering. Loves it there and just refuses to lie down. If hype could gallop, we would all be millionaires, and as such, all be in the same financial position we are now.

    Saturday. Lucky that maiden from last year won the Aust Guineas. I was in fear of the Plate’s standing following that result. Hope this years edition offers revival.

    The “Bludgis Exceptional Quad Machine” earned reward points last week at The Heath and all cylinders are firing.

    Saturday. My special is Atmosphere. In line with the Album theme, to quote a track from Let It Be, I’ve Got A Feeling. Reckon this horse is pretty, pretty, pretty good.

    One out in the Quad, and stack the rest. I won’t back him straight out on Sat, but will have something on him in the Derby at $11.

    Cox Plate. Think they might have brought the right horse in Adelaide (Go The Bays) Him aside, I will be mixing up Foreteller, The Fav and Silent Achiever.

  4. Oges,
    I love to see a winning battler – in the mirror Sunday morning.
    Tips please.

  5. Some of your best work this week Crio, the double album is a fair call, although better the double Album than say ‘Flock of Seagulls’ who were struggling to find a B side for their 1 hit.
    Anyhow, love Rupee tonight, more for the price (pun intended) than anything else, beeen beaten .1 and .1 2 starts back at 1/4 and 4/13, the $4 is a great price.
    Fawkner all the way for me in the Cox and $5 is a gift.
    In the last Suavito is the unluckiest horse going around, but seems to do t to itself, willing to risk it and back valley specialist Jessy Belle (even though it’s up in class)

  6. In the time capsule part of the Post, John adams recalls that 75 yrs ago this week 67,000 attended the Caulfield Cup.
    “Two races are divided on the day, stretching the program to eight races. The move draws considerable criticism from racegoers and the press, who consider it too big a program.”

    Slow learners!

  7. Anyone think Sweynesse can atone for his dad’s losses in the Plate? Not one of B Shinn’s greatest rides last start, they finished up running a track record there and he was undefeated before that.
    Trust In A Gust and Suavito look solid bookends foR the quaddy so need some value in the middle legs. Maybe San Padre in 2nd leg?

  8. The double album! Great call Crio. I’ll completely ignore the fact that this is actually a piece on racing and head into the final straight with double albums that on their release were overs (did I say that right?) to pass the finish line as album of the year … or thereabouts!

    The Beatles White Album is an outright masterpiece.

    Here are just a few great double albums:

    Outkast – Speakerboxx/The Love Below
    Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
    Wilco – Being There
    Led Zep – Physical Graffiti
    Bruce – The River
    Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
    The Who – Quadrophenia
    Husker Du – Zen Arcade
    Prince – Sign O The Times
    Nick Cave – Abattoir Blues
    XTC – English Settlement
    Derek and the Dominos – Layla
    and my absolute fave: The Clash – London Calling!

    I haven’t even mentioned Frampton, Saturday Night Live or Miles Davis …

  9. John Adams mindset may be 75 years old but physically I thought closing in on 60.
    Perhaps he can still recall his honeymoon to Flemington for Omnicorp Derby day where his new wife entrusted $20 to him for a day’s punting only to have it go on buying the first round of beers.

  10. I’m pretty sure most of the field has Sweynesse covered, I loved Sacred Falls last run and I’ll go for a standard Waller quinella. I also am very keen on Le Roi in the Valley Cup, he’s ready to win and it’s a disappointing field, 18 months ago he raced in group 1’s
    ( 8/1 in a BMW) prior to a leg injury and I think that Opinion is nowhere near that.

    Hope to get a bank tonight. Beliveau goes very well 2nd up and good odds in the country cup so no problems with the class. Iconic for the place at big odds in the Manikato. Slow Pace and Pheidon look a dead set quinella in the last so may go that way and tip a couple in for third and attack the trifectas.

    Why do they need a grey’s race? at least have it in winter on a bog track.

    Adelaide is an ordinary meeting but Classy Jack should have them covered in the sprint while in the 8th Hasta La Shammer got taken out in it’s last run at Penola and does represent a really good EW bet because the field is not strong, there are plenty of first uppers who probably can’t win and the leader ( Corvidae) is a non winner.

    Elvis, I’ve got a feeling lyrics below not sure which of the below you’ve achieved recently but we all Dig a Pony ( side 1, track2)
    Everybody had a hard year
    Everybody had a good time
    Everybody had a wet dream
    Everybody saw the sunshine
    Oh yeah, (oh yeah) oh yeah, oh yeah
    Everybody had a good year
    Everybody let their hair down
    Everybody pulled their socks up
    Everybody put their foot down
    Oh yeah
    Yeah I’ve got a feeling
    A feeling deep inside

  11. Busy day there Jock…

  12. “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth delegating”
    -Sir Humphrey Appleby

  13. Almost compulsory to have a bet in the first tonight if they’re going to put up that money muncher Fast’N’Rocking at 5/4. Maybe Magnus Reign (now with D Weir) or Scapolo.

  14. Mmm not the best start to the big weekend. Only one way to go from here!
    Rebel Dane to blouse the sprinters.

  15. Very pleased that I wasn’t on the punt tonight.
    Managed to sneak down for the main race. Fabulous atmosphere – beautiful weather and enthusiastic crowd.

  16. Took forever to dismiss those protests!

  17. Stewards let Ollie dare to believe then dismissed

  18. I was on the Griffiths charge. She was unlucky. Couldn’t find a clear run for about 300m. Would have had the quaddie.

  19. David Downer says

    Nice work Crio.

    The Manikato looked the best race on paper this weekend, you couldn’t have hoped for a better finish last night. Amazing! The Atticus Finch post-mortem dragged on a bit too long. Meltdown on Twitter.

    Am heading out there today..

    Warming to Criterion, and won’t give up on Happy Trails. Have also had a nibble on Foreteller at $45. Ridiculous overs.

    Being there live if The Cleaner got up however would be something else.

    Happy punting

  20. Enjoy it DD
    I am in Pavilion Room this year

  21. I’m still trying to get over R Kane having Stevie Wonder in his great double album list!!
    Love the Gox Plate. Love it’s uncertainty.

  22. I always thought that “the White Album” was the greatest lot of drug addled bollocks that the Beatles ever recorded. Went to the Tim Rogers et al concert earlier this year.
    That confirmed it.
    Agree with Trucker about Layla and London Calling. But even St Bruce was stretching material on The River. Some great songs, but would have been better as a single.
    I’ll add Van Morrison’s “Its Too Late to Stop Now” as the greatest ever live album and one of the great doubles.

  23. One bet so far…Law!!

  24. Hi Dips

    I’ll let Robert Christgau explain:

    And how could I have forgotten this great double album – Paul Kelly’s Gossip.

    Finally, while technically not a double album, the two albums Merle Haggard released between late ’66 and early ’67 (Swinging Doors and Lonesome Fugitive) combined could easily compete with music’s best ‘double-albums’.

  25. Rick,
    Was the Gram Parsons “Grievous Angel” compilation a double?

  26. Gram Parson released two albums under his own name, GP and Grievous Angel. Both superb records but both single albums. There was a Flying Burrito Brothers double album, Close Up The Honky Tonks but it was a record company compilation.


  27. Thanks Rick. I just checked in the car and noticed that it (single CD) was GP/GrievousAngel. Great CD.

    The other phenomenon of the 70s was the one album in a fold-out “double” package!
    I think I may have bought Paul Gadd’s glittering debut in such packaging!

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