Crio’s Racing: Miracles do Happen

City racing takes a back seat in the lead up to Xmas as punting wallets face competing demands. Finding their niche, Country Racing offers an array of family-friendly venues to counterbalance the office-party demographic which Friday Nights will exploit over summer. Metropolitan Saturdays, then, become rather run-of-the-mill, as evidenced by the Moonee Valley listings this week.

This meeting is a shocker – despite MV being just down the road, my boss has enlisted me for the Woolamai Picnics where there are no pretentions of quality horses but high hopes for good spirits (and catering).

With brilliant weather forecast is it possible that the picnics and provvies (Yarra Glen) will be greater drawcards than the “big show” – but, of course, punters will still gravitate to the better fields so we’ll be betting on metros and looking for a lead.

I must admit that the last 2 weeks of working at Dunkeld and Ballarat have been busy and therapeutic – almost wishing to drag out the old sheets or try to call the odds rather than typing in the modern system….’10 win and place the 4′.

Those times, of course, are well gone and greatly missed – nothing’s quite the same as “back when”!

That point, indeed, will be reaffirmed on Saturday night to the remaining zealots of the once important sport of Harness Racing. Here’s a fascinating study of how improved quality does not necessarily translate to greater interest. Though in so many ways better than ever, the trots are no longer mainstream, certainly here in Australia, and the magnificent finale to the Carnival of Miracles at Menangle will struggle for oxygen on Election Night.

The banner race, the Miracle Mile, once had an important place in our sports psyche, being televised live on ABCtv. The supporting card this week triggers memories. Amongst them are:-

R3- The Robin Dundee (Mares, G2)

Robin Dundee was the first to break 2 mins for the mile in Australia (1m50secs won’t win this week!). Small and brave, she was tremendously popular – though “before my time” I remember her feats being lauded around our kitchen table as a child. As part of an Interdom deadheat her legacy in trots folklore is assured… here’s a ripper summary from an emerging site

R5- The Mount Eden (4yo, G2)

He’s why some of us became entranced by the trots…the great Mount Eden

There’s lots more.

R6 is named after Kevin Newman, driver of so many Champs but notably the mighty Halwes.

Others to be recognised include Smoken Up (R2), Chokin (R3) and, remarkably, the defending Miracle Miler (and reigning Interdom title holder) Beautide.

Beautide, alas, is largely unknown beyond the tightly knit Standardbred community, yet experts are declaring him an all-time great as he steps out to defend at Menangle. Forget the hype over The Cleaner, this is Tassie’s best horse. Look him up – or, better still, tune in for this year’s Miracle Mile, a vintage edition, at 9:40pm Saturday.

At least we’ve found something to relish in the always diverse world of racing.

Those looking for a hybrid have left it too late for a flight (or fishing boat) to King Island where the sulky races share the day and the grass track with gallopers.

Aficionados of the Sport Of Kings will best be served waiting until Sunday and looking to Japan where Gentildonna (under Ryan Moore) will chase a 3rd Cup and history.

Wherever your interests lie, enjoy. If the mail’s good or there’s a story to be retold, please contribute.

It’s always appreciated and the more the merrier.

Good luck!


  1. It’s with no confidence I follow up on Callmedan in R5 at Yarra glen on was not a good run although first up over some distance last week at the Valley. I am told Strath had a big day last Sunday(pity I didn’t ) but have had to do some work on the track so the next meeting is transferred.
    Good luck at the picnics-always a great atmosphere
    See you Boxing Day

  2. Crappy footage but what a horse Mount Eden was! Stella Frost, Deep Court, Manaroa & Bay Foyle were good horses too but he destroyed them.

  3. Thanks for the memories Crio, great crowds dodgy lighting, ….”Board odds I lay!”
    Keep buttering up Oges, everything turns around.
    Also will follow my own advice, after a shocker of a run, and declare one in the last at The Valley…Alcohol , huge run Flem last start, screaming out for the trip, just has to overcome the bad gate.

  4. Naggy Napthine is Evens; Danny Boy is 4/5 in most markets. Green Mooners no chance at 100/1, but could cause interference to Danny Boy close to home. “None of the Above” looked over the line at 1/10; but Stewards have ruled it ineligible under race conditions.
    Any tIps Crio and Cowshed? Looking elsewhere?

  5. Peter, I’ll stay out of that – but Napthine is a good racing man.

    Meet George Jetson in BR1

  6. I’m interested in Shake it Shakira, the Mark Young trained runner in R6. Nikita Beriman rode it a treat in its recent win at Donald. Hope she can repeat it today.

    Good to see Brian Cox train the winner of the Wodonga Cup yesterday, his first home town cup win since Mooball in 2002.


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