There’s still room for sentiment in our multi-billion dollar “Industry” and sometimes it presents in the most humble of places – like at Pakenham on Tuesday , where the Grandson of Jim Moloney (Vain) rode his first winner and the Grand-daughter of Jim Houlihan achieved her maiden training success.
The “new generation” will compete in a racing landscape unrecognisable to their antecedents. The International opportunities and prizemoney riches are extraordinary, but the core of the “game” may be rotting, according to some naysayers.
Mind you, my grandfather (a bookie), much like theirs I suspect, used to tell us as kids that racing had changed, mostly for the worst.
Young Patrick Moloney will understand the sentiment if he catches a video of Vain’s 1969 Caulfield Guineas win, with crowds down to the turn and on the infield, a far cry from the few stalwarts who will watch from behind glass at The Heath on Saturday.
Vain, of course, was not only one of Australia’s greatest ever sprinters, but also was a superb sire. The feature race this Saturday, the Bletchingly Stakes (MR6,1200m,WFA,G3), is named for arguably the best sire of my time (start with Kingston Town and Emancipation!!). It is a really good race for this stage of the season. The query runner is returned globetrotter Green Birdie (1), huge first up and with a form class edge. But he is 9 next week and hasn’t come back because he is getting faster! Probably a risk despite the early money pushing him to favouritism. Punters rate Zamorar, unlucky last start, as a danger. I don’t. I’d be more inclined to go with Moody’s Ready to Rip (7) and fluff around with some roughies like Hot Spin. WFA stalwart and barometer Heart of Dreams (2) returns for another campaign. His best must be behind him but he has always raced well fresh and Froggy is on board. “Prefer others”! Whatever happens, this will be a race to review for future betting.
Early Quaddy inklings are 2,3,6,8 (some value there)/ 7,10/ 1,3,4,6/ 8,11,13.

Amy Johnston’s lineage will have cause for celebration on Sunday, Grand National Steeple day, when the supporting race, the $100,000 J.J.Houlihan Hurdle commemorates her grandfather Jim, the doyen of jumps trainers (and scourge of the satchel swingers). Jim’s place in Victoria’s racing folklore is secure but his beloved “jumps” are not. To paraphrase a leading bookie’s logic the other week…”They provide 1% of our turnover and 99% of the bad publicity”.
The vultures will be out there looking for a “fatality photo” and few punters will bother. For the record (acceptors not yet out) it would seem that Brungle Cry will win the Hurdle and Bashboy the Steeple….another S.Pateman double!
Thankfully, the epic battle for the Jockey’s Premiership will add extra spice to this weekend’s double-header and it could well be decided over the 6 flat races on the Heavy Sandown track. Nolen leads by 2 so should now be pretty safe, but it has been a terrific competition between the well respected hoops and a good talking point late in the season.
August 1 is Wednesday. A new season begins.Happy Birthday and Happy New Year!


  1. Great post for all racing fans with lots of memories of champs of yester-year. Durics back and teaming with Snowden so my question of last week has been answered
    But where are all the other racing fans? (joined the grey nomads and gone north or saving their cash for the Spring?)

  2. Thanks Oges.
    I put the V.Duric update as a post on last week’s piece…his comeback ride is on right now (R1 Werribee!) after 2 mths off – injury I think.

  3. It won. Persecution, ridder by Vlad the Impaler, paying 7/4 on the billy goat!

  4. I think Duric is a class act -others may disagree – and his strike rate after a stint in Singapore is excellent

  5. Budge/Elvis,
    Vain was a true champ. Bletchingly a dud?
    Bletchingly the better sire?

  6. Crio,
    While Bletchingly never reached the heights of Vain (who has!) on the track, he was definitely no dud!

    Thought by his owner to be too small and unsound for a long racing career, Bletchingly was unraced as a two-year-old and won his only start as a three-year-old at Bendigo. At four, he had 3 starts, winning The Galaxy Stakes at Randwick and the Moomba Handicap at Flemington, in which he equalled the course record of 56.8 seconds for 1000m. His five-start career produced four wins and a second. He was then retired to stand at Widden Stud.

  7. Given Bletchingly sired a certainty beaten in a Melbourne Cup, he might have become a pretty handy horse if sound. Was there any stamina in his pedigree.

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    Bletchingly was out of a (GB) mare, so you would expect some stamina. Kingston Town was out of a (Ger) mare so you would expect some stamina there too.

    Name the only Star Kingdom line winner of the Melbourne Cup.

  9. Rogan Josh – by Old Spice (by Kaoru Star).

    Dulcify (out of a Todman mare) should have won…..

  10. No need to ask which of them you backed Budge!…Dulcify would’ve brained ’em.

    Track getting soaked at Caulfield – might even be Heavy tomorrow! Pity. I’ve been really warming to E/W Hot Spin.

    There’s a Listed race, the Lightning, in adelaide tomorrow and the mail is that Vatican (AR7, No2) has been set for it and will win….carrying J.Maskiell on yet another comeback from a substance suspension.

  11. Also, I see that Bradbury’s Chocolate lines up for 7 straight tomorrow at Doomben (BR5,No1). She should win. What a story!

  12. Froggy’s gonna struggle to win the Premiership now…2 of his rides, including Heart Of Dreams, already scratched for Caulfield – he now has just 4 mounts.

  13. I’ve rarely bet on the footy this season but am on Adelaide ($2.42 to beat Geelong at Cat Park) and Port ($2.60 to beat Freo in Adelaide).
    Be told!!

  14. I also reckon Carlton ($2.50) are overs against Richmond ($1.66).

  15. My 2 bets….one missed the kick 10 lengths and the other beat the evens fav but found one better!

  16. David Downer says


    When you head up to Darwin? Escaping the Melbourne cold will be a prize in itself. Nightly reports from the Top End are expected! You’ll have a blast I’m sure.

    Back on the international scene, the four days of Glorious Goodwood kicks off tomorrow night.

    Most interest will be in the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday night with Frankel – but he’s scared everyone off. A field of four, and one of them is Sir Henry’s pacemaker! Bit of a farce.

    My long range Cup prospect Gatewood is scheduled to go around on Friday night in the Glorious Stakes. He’s still $51 for the Cup. He wins this race I think he qualifies.

    On Thursday night the Ascot Gold Cup winner Colour Vision (one of mine) goes up against Simenon (another!) in the 2 mile Goodwood Cup. A few other Melb Cup aspirants running here also.

    Ortensia’s having another crack. Finally gets some dry ground. Goes around Friday night in the 1000m King George (G2). Topweight but her easiest task in the UK to date.

    Also took odds on promising UK stayer Mount Athos in the Cup the other week. Already into $21!

    Looking forward to some juicy Cups doubles when noms and weights released in the next week or so


  17. Off to Darwin in the morning…pity you aren’t there to do a comparative piece! Also, disappointingly, Elvis is a scratching. I’ll be at the races Wednesday, Saturday and Monday.
    I mentioned on another thread that you should take some spec bets and doubles – I’m sure a few of us would happily syndicate.

  18. David Downer says

    Indeed, re the specs and doubles.

    Now, may dame fortune attend the Top End!


    P.S: Edit to my previous post …Glorious Goodwood is a five day show of course. Either way, has to compete hard with Olympics interest this time around.

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