Crio’s racing: Ascot or the bush

The legend of Achilles teaches us that even the greatest have a weakness – literally a “soft spot”.

Correspondent Cowshedend is the toughest of markers – his DNA is western suburban Catholic Labor Footscray – who rarely gives bouquets to hoops. Yet he has regularly, albeit begrudgingly, acknowledged D.Lane whose career took a big leap with a city treble on Saturday. Even Chief Steward Terry Bailey was moved to declare that Lane and controversial fellow 20 yr-old Chad Schofield were set to lead the generational challenge to 40somethings Olly, Dunn and Williams. For the record, you can add teenager R.Bayliss to that “watch” list also.

Apprentices are largely overlooked during the “big money” season when the likes of the Magic Man (5 in HK on the weekend!) and James McDonald skim the cream. But now is their time and it can be a feature of summer watching the emerging talents.

The horses on show, alas, are unlikely to vie for Hall of Fame status. Look at this weekend’s noms – another triumph of quantity over quality.

Ascot has the best credentialed races with plenty of blacktype to be won and the G1 Kingston Town the feature (I wrote about this race here in 2012 The message from a fortnight ago reinforced the folly of Eastern seaboarders making the trans-Nullabor trek as an afterthought, with locals taking the chockies. W.A.Pike reinforced Budge’s mancrush, displaying trademark bravado and skill (Pike, not Budge) to win the Railway on Elite Belle and he once again is the man to follow if doing form seems too hard. This Saturday the legendary D.Whyte jets in to add some flavour as most of the visitors have left town – leaving caller Darren McCaulley to resume his infatuation with apprentice “Little” Lucy Warwick.

D.Whyte, not surprisingly, has the gun mount in the main event (R8, 1800m, WFA), with Chris Waller’s Moriarty the early fav ahead of Disposition (Pike from barrier 17) and a host of other chances, including Tommy Berry on Gai’s Pheidon. It is a great day for Perth racing but you could only bet with disposable income given the lack of exposure most of us have to the form – some judges love punting over there, claiming that the small pool of horses makes it really easy to track them through the grades. For most victims over here, a bet at Ascot is one bridge too many on a long Saturday!

In Melbourne, our “main” meeting is at Sandown (Caulfield’s having a spell for a while) though the alternative options are much better – Avoca, Stony Creek and my likely destination, beautiful Balnarring.

It’s more than 20 years since my last trip down to the popular picnic track on the Mornington Peninsula and the freeways now make it an even easier place for Melbournians to visit. It was always a well patronised course with lots of shade and the support of the wealthy crowd who like to “summer” down the coast. Good weather, of course, is imperative and may be an issue this week.

The bar was set very high at Woolamai last week. It was a perfect day at a beautiful site – can’t recommend it highly enough. The burgers established a benchmark for summer (“ladies and gents, before the last, couple of dollars each for the remaining burgers at the kiosk. Thanks again for your attendance. Hope you’ve had a great day”).

As usual we’ll put up a board for punters wanting a bet at the city meeting. They’ll likely show some interest in the first leg of the Quaddy (MR6, 1000m, H’cp, Listed) and focus on the return of the highly touted Lord Of The Sky (1) which, if right, surely beats this, admittedly pretty competitive, field. They might go pretty hard here so include Go The Knuckle (3).

Quaddy possibilities therefore include 1,3/3,6,7,8/2,11,13/go very wide in a result leg.

As usual there’s plenty to discuss in the world of racing. New track ratings have come in to play this week – interested in any feedback.

Next weekend is the big Hong Kong card so we’ll also try to find some chances there.

Have a good weekend, hopefully finding some racing solace rather than the hell of Xmas shopping centres. If you’re avoiding that, you are already a winner.

Good luck!


  1. What a “polished” write up Crio -enough to make me think you are a scholar. Cowshedend is a legend on this site and has much more of a rational approach to betting than my hit and miss strategy and news
    Crio- is your boss following the country meet more than the city?

  2. I take umbridge at my misrepresentation by the author (the member for Flemington), i think you’ll find in an extremely dusty copy of Hansard, that the jockey i was referring to was in fact GEOFF Lane, my adulation corresponded with my last winner!

  3. 6 race card @ Avoca so the plan is to be there from first to last. Also wil keep an an eye on Wagga, to see how Colley Haze and Koel, run. I might even check Benalla. Happy punting.


  4. cowshedend says

    Stephen Brown gave a lovely push for his 2 tonight at the Valley, Coco Set in the 2nd comes off a very nice run at Geelong, (which was a transferred meeting), it’s only had the 2 starts, and is up against maidens who have been to the well a number of times.
    He also has Last Sight in the last, again lightly raced 3rd up after a close up 2nd in Adelaide.

  5. cowshedend says

    Forgot to say, you gave me your sage advice last week re Alcohol at the Valley…..wide gate, got severely checked when the horse came down turning out of the straight the first time and went back to last, came via the buffet at the north hill Tabaret, and failed by a head, 1 bet and money left in the bag, why didn’t i listen oh wise one?

  6. mate Ialso lectured blokes not to back Extra Zero the win…they argued it’s form was good for that raace. I contested it’s form was rock solid for another drum.

  7. Thanks for the Last Sight push – alas, I stayed out!
    Reckon the 3rd horse unlucky but they don’t pay on that
    Tom and I went down for first couple of races – scurried home to watch soccer. A few people down at the Valley but the betting ring is shot.
    Off to Balnarring early tmrw.
    Bet responsibly!…but bet.

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