Track Managers and punters across most of the country are unable to confidently prepare for racing at many venues due to what is nowadays referenced as “a rain event” threatening many of the venues, some of which are parched and “roads” now (Wednesday) but no good things to be raceable by Saturday! The form, it seems, is not the only unpredictable pattern to flummox “experts”.

Here in Melbourne the authorities wisely delayed (and again delayed) last Saturday’s metropolitan card, awaiting the cool change which, fortunately, didn’t bring the threatened storms and made the resultant night meeting comfortable for “Industry participants”. Such a call was possible because of the Valley’s lights and the rare lack of an evening meeting on summer’s Saturday roster…and some initiative.  They were lucky – but good on them for making the call.

Racing authorities are rightly lambasted for many of their ineptitudes, but they also face a barrage of criticism at any attempted innovations…the old “rock and a hard place”.

This Friday night there’s been disquiet at the plan for races every 20 minutes at Cranbourne. Jockeys cannot ride in consecutive races, 2 stewards panels are employed…it is a logistical challenge that many seem to be hoping will misfire. Maybe it will not succeed – the weather forecast is dire and a good crowd now unlikely – but in the face of other “Entertainments” wanting to be faster/snappier, I applaud the enterprise. I hope bookies are forced to put up a market the moment a previous race has crossed the line, rather than the dormant 15 minutes that descends on betting rings after most races these days. And I hope no one is discouraged from at least “having a go”.

By that standard I guess I should embrace Saturday’s Magic Millions meeting, an annual mega-money sideshow to the Sales and events which have found an annual niche on the Gold Coast. Some reservations accompanied last year’s rant, probably mostly relating to the restricted nature of the races and the misleading prices and hype that are generated at the Sales. The motive, of course, is for the MM stakeholders to get richer and thus it is not necessarily a “good for racing” scenario. But, in order to maintain some semblance of consistency, I should hurrah and “good play” to those who at least keep the game front and centre through a traditional “slow” period.

They say it is a fun week up there but tough on the punt. Big fields and big prizemoney…at least you know they’re all trying! A heavy track is probable which may further confuse a truism of not backing wide gates at the circuit – anyone got something to add about the course’s nuances?

With the awful bushfires now apparently under control, we can apply the “watch and act” mantra to racegoers and participants this weekend, with many meetings to be disrupted by severe weather. I’ll be at Flemington, a track which dries so well and offers Members all-weather comfort. I’ll be in the betting ring which provides neither.

2014’s “correspondent of the year”, Oges, has presumably got Strathalbyn Cup in his diary for Sunday. Again, though, we’ll have to wait on the weatherman as well as our reliable SA oracle before crossing AR on our betting slips.

As usual we’re spoilt for choice this week – from blacktype Friday in Gosford, via Healesville Cup on Saturday to the Tasmanian Guineas on Sunday, racing offers a unique range of venues and entertainments – punters, spoilt for choice, just need to be selective.

Any help appreciated.

Good luck!



  1. cowshedend says

    Crio, variable track conditions make punting even harder this time of year, and with rain forecast for the next 3days Flemington should get a wet one.
    snuck up to Seymour Tuesday, and it was 35 when the meeting kicked off,40 minutes in between races is ridiculous, gave up after first 4 and headed home, couple of hoops suffered badly in the heat and had to find replacements.
    Cranbourne should indeed be congratulated for their initiative, 20 minute gaps are fantastic.
    tipping a few with wet form at HQ saturday, r5 churchill’s wit, r6 lampadusa and r7 aeratus, who gets 6kg’s off the toppy.
    Also congrats Oges on receiving a gong in the Crio’s birthday honours list

  2. There’s a busload of us from the Royal Oak heading down to Werribee on Sunday. Touch wood re the weather.

    I notice Sweet Emily is having her first run @ HQ on Saturday. Her only start on a rain affected track did not suit her, she finishing well out of the placings, for one of only two times in her career.. Hope she’s learnt from that, and can keep on winning.


  3. At first glance I would say the locals will dominate on Sat. at HQ.It would have to be some of the stables A listers going around.So I’m looking to get a bank for Sundays Strath Cup as a result
    It’s rained heavily in Strath but the track I’m told by my Bowls mates there will be in good order (more news later)
    Is this the “kiss of death from Crio?” being named in His Royals honors list.thanks Cowshedend
    Glen your trip sounds like my footy trips that like my few footy skills have faded into oblivion

  4. Sir Oges,
    I may catch you on Sunday, could have a runner (or part thereof), you need to be on your best form now that Crio has given you an Order of the Punt in his new year honours

  5. Potentially important day on Sunday then as Oges, in black shorts, hosts Jock…Budge and I have a debt in one at Warrnambool on same day.
    Rain may, of course, save us all.

  6. note, however, if you are thinking of punting Flemington, that we’ve actually had next to no rain thus far (1920 Th) and the track would be rock hard. Sit on your hands and have afternoon contingencies.

  7. Oges, allow me to offer you my humble congratulations of being such a worthy recipient of the honour bestowed by Crio. A more deserving recipient we would not find. All the best on your 2015 reports, and hopefully we might catch up for a bet, and bevvy in VIC or NSW this year.


  8. We’re off to Werribee on Sunday so i’ll do a review on that. Quick Q; who was the last Melbourne Cup winner to win the Werribee Cup ?

    Speaking of Q’s? Has the missing jockey, Ryan Plumb, been found? A sad episode. Hope it ends well.


  9. Enjoy Werribee…a jinxed joint.
    Has there been a Cup winner from there since Makybe Diva? (not in same yr though)

    Ryan Plumb was located and is safe

    Don’t give Oges too much oxygen – don’t want him turning in to a tipping machine.

  10. I may be going off a bit early but assuming that it will rain and that Flemington and Morphettville will be rain affected I am going this way:
    Melb Race 3, something on You Think So
    Melb Race 6 Murcielaga Ran on very well last time and will be ready
    Melb Race 7 Shamardashing if there is a cent for it, D Weir first up, Blinkers are off and is a nob in the wet.
    Adel race 6 Monica Kate
    Adel Race 8 Our Exchange Is in well with the claim and will be on pace and has a very good record if it’s wet

    If it doesn’t rain, I’m stuffed but I’ll have some coldies in the fridge.

    For Strath on Sunday I’m a bit worried as the track is currently listed as a soft 5 which doesn’t augur well if there is 30- or 40 mm of rain because strath has always had problems coping with rain due to a lack of drainage in the back straight.

  11. We’ve still hardly had any rain here in Flemington despite dire forecasts!

  12. Spot on Crio, Makybe Diva got the Werribee Cup/ Melbourne Cup double in 2002.

    Good news on Ryan Plumb.

    Flemington, the rain has been on the cards for nigh on 48 hours, but beyond a sprinkle or two it’s been dry. It gives me a hope Sweet Emily will not have to confrot a soggy track.

    Happy punting,


  13. Nah Glen…I thought M Diva won Werribee the year she won the QE – her Melbourne Cup wins began the next season.
    Even Stevens won both in the same year

  14. Too true Crio. That posting was not one of my better moments in the public arena. The year Makybe Diva won in Werribee, 2002, was the year Damien Oliver rode Media Puzzle to victory in the Melbourne Cup. It is the only Melbourne Cup i’ve ever watched whilst being bedridden in a health care institution, so i don’t know how i forgot that . How have i conjued up that howler ???


  15. Rain in “sunny” South Oz and more to come. May have to review bets and track conditions especially for Sunday.

  16. Finally raining here in Flemington. You can do wet form

  17. Wrong again…poured for 10 mins. Track firm. I didn’t have bet. Bookies won convincingly.
    Alan Thomas spruiked the Goldy meeting as one of the great days in racing…the 2yo as one of the best in the world…that’s the spirit!!

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