Crio’s Racing: Diamonds are Forever

The corner table at the Beach Café was PPP.

Even 30 years on, the memories are vivid.

“Did you see that?”


“Don’t bother looking around. You’ll miss the next classic.”

Those Scandi backpackers in Paros were something to behold. RSI on the swivel neck.


In my middle-aged sports dotage, “where to look” has different applications but is, nonetheless, this week’s challenge.

Cricket presents Australia v NZ.

A-League has the Sydney Derby at Parra.

Even the footy’s back.



Like a newly-wed on a beach holiday, it may take some effort to remain focused, but the reward is worthwhile…real race fans will recognise the true quality on display this Saturday.

It’s Diamond Day at Caulfield, a sparkling programme of time-honoured black type with tempting prizes for owners and punters.

The Blue Diamond Stakes (MR8, 1200m, 2yo, SW, G1) is Victoria’s 2yo flagship. As usual there are many considerations involved in finding the winner – far from “fastest form wins”. The step up to 1200m sorts some out as does the enduringly tricky circuit. Add the buzz of a big crowd and big field as “immeasurables” and you understand why this can be a nightmare scenario for punters. However, the norm is that the top echelon get through…the best filly, you might argue, is, on recent evidence, the one to tip. Fontiton, clearcut favourite, fits the bill. From her breathtaking debut on Cox Plate Day to recent signs of maturity and class, she’d be a worthy winner. I’m not sure that the one marble is any help but if she lobs OK, she’ll be there “at the distance”. Arguably the pick of the boys is Of The Brave, a colt with excellent form that is embroiled, through no fault of his own, in controversy. Extended appeals have allowed Mark Riley to remain as the trainer for this weekend, hoping for one big final payday before a suspension that will, in all likelihood, finish his career. Pride Of Dubai the best of the rest.

The older sprinters have the spotlight in the Oakleigh Plate (MR7, 1100m, H’cap, G1). No real Newmarket aspirants are here but don’t be disappointed. This is nearly always won by a really good horse; less often a champ. It is a Handicap. Typically, this is an even field and speedmaps will offer advice for tipsters…the suspicion is that they’ll fly and the swoopers could be the ones to back. Last year’s Diamond girl, Earthquake, returns as one of the main chances but you can make a case for plenty. Big multis are assured.

The other races are a bit of a mixed bag but plenty of good horses will need to be updated in blackbooks.

With its WFA conditions the Futurity (MR5, 1400m, WFA, G1) generally has little depth.  The 2015 edition is no exception. Dissident will be odds on and should win.

The St George Stakes (MR6, 1800m, WFA, G2) suffers a similar scenario – an impressive honour board but sometimes a ho-hum contest. The key runner this week is Cup winner, Protectionist, resuming. He looked world class, something that couldn’t be said about the rest, most of which are good handicappers to have in your yard but more likely to be invited to Perth’s Ascot than Royal Ascot. So why the reservations about the German star? Primarily, I guess it is the distance – he’s not run at less than a mile and a quarter since 2012 and he might not be “screwed down”. Thus Happy Trails, 2nd up, makes real e/w appeal. The rest are an even bunch but, to be honest, they’re not fit to carry the fav’s bridle.

The Mannerism (MR2, 1400m, Mares, SWP, G3) will be worth watching, with the top 4 – Bonaria, Politeness, Girl Guide and Tycoon Tara – all likely to contest good races over Autumn. They also look the best suited under the conditions but Choose certainly fits the adage of “stick with a mare in form”.

The Angus Armanasco (MR3), Autumn Classic (MR4), Zeditave (MR1) and Mornington Cup Prelude (MR9) complete a good card.


Over the last couple of weeks Sydney has managed to present G2 fields superior to Melbourne’s G1s. This week their offering is from Warwick Farm where a couple of races compare favourably with the southern offerings.

Most markedly, though, has been the renaming of the former Wiggle Stakes (which justifiably honoured a former champion of the turf). As a matter of principle, this site and correspondents generally cling to the registered names of races, or at least the term most prominently used in Miller’s Guide.

Yet I applaud the authorities for scheduling the Guy Walter Stakes as SR7. This is Warwick Farm’s big meeting and no one is more deserving of a memorial gesture than the former great trainer and gentleman whose base was out there in Sydney’s west ( It just seems right – 1400m, Mares, G3 a fortnight out from the Coolmore Classic. I’m tipping Arabian Gold, no longer a mudlark, for a black-shorts triumph.

On a formguide with half a dozen Group races, I’ll just highlight 2 others of particular interest.

Obviously, primarily, the Chipping Norton (SR6, 1600m, WFA, G1). Heaps of topliners engaged here and Silent Achiever might be 10/1 and overs.

The Surround Stakes (SR4, 1400m, 3yoF, SW, G2) also attracts my attention. What happened to this mob last time? Bolter (though 100/1 in to 40/1) Adrift shocked in the Light Fingers where track peculiarities have been blamed for the higher rated flops. First Seal needs to emphatically re-stamp her authority on the fillies and Winx will want to bounce back also. Ripper little battle.

As “side salad”, the 2yo dashers continue to test themselves at better standards in the Slipper lead-ups (SR2 Skyline for the boys and SR3 Sweet Embrace for the girls – both1200m, SW, G2) whilst Red Excitement and Pornichet add interest to the Liverpool City Cup (SR5, 1300m, Quality, G3).


Don’t be distracted, racelovers!

The time is now. Sure a cursory glance at those “other” games can be borne, but the turf action demands commitment.

Winners for now and beyond please.

Good luck!



  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says


    Had our honeymoon at the long forgotten Tara Village at Surfers. To avoid the visual temptation of the ‘tops optional’ sundeck near the resort pool, it was decided to take a trip to the beach instead.

    You know the scene from Dr No, the first sight upon hitting the sand was the 1984 version of Ursula Andress, top very optional.

    We went to a movie instead.

  2. Swish, I stayed at Tara Village with my girlfriend at the time in 1979. Distractions aplenty but remember backing Ryder in the last at 16/1 (might have been the day Dulcify swooped over Manikato to win the Australian Cup). Provided extra funds for more cocktails du jour.
    Sorry Crio, back on track. Quite keen on Bel Sprinter in the Oakleigh plate. His best is a long way better than most of these, he’s 6 from 8 first up and the outside gate is ideal as he tends to get stirred up if left in the barrier too long. I can see a hot pace with him steaming over them. Currently around $26.

  3. lads,
    this is meant to be more Black Type than Black Label!

  4. You started it with the Paros memories!

  5. Budge, out of the blocks early on a Tara Village mention.

    I’m considering the feature double in Melb, Nostradamus into Pride of Dubai. I think the second one is a good thing but not quite as confident with the first leg. It hasn’t really been a race that 3yo’s have a great record in but there is a lack of depth and if running on, the light weight will be an asset.

  6. Jock,
    I was expecting Alpine Eagle in all your multis?!

  7. And when does Cowshedend chime in with Fantasy Eight?

  8. Budge , it’s SACKED!

  9. Alpine Eagle is probably the best I’ve seen in Adelaide ( exception Black Caviar) for 10 years. Not sure what the pace will be like though as he gets back and Caulfield is a query for me. They should ,in my humble head to Sydney as soon a the race is over.
    Randwick will suit just fine.

  10. Ursula Andress? Reckon if I’d roll up it would be Shelly Hancox doing the nudy run!

  11. Always Alison looked top shelf – she’s the one to watch in the Sweet Embrace

  12. Quick glance at Sydney. Good fillies race again (R4 Surround Stakes- how many races did Surround win in Sydney anyway?) but impossible to be keen on anything there. Happy to pot Contributer this week. Liked him last week due to class and first up form (now 5 wins from 6) but never won 2nd up and might be looking for further. Happy to be on the good mares at the bottom or Boban (yes, Boban). he’s 2 from 2 at WF, 3 from 6 at a mile and this looks very suitable.
    R7 No7 Hera looks way over the odds to me. Has great 2nd up form (3 from 5).

  13. Crio
    The netball also starts this week!

  14. Spillway was a tidy run first up in the Orr, it’s goal will be the Aust.cup, but reckon it will be thereabouts tomorrow too.
    In the same race Perth horse Real Love had a gutbuster in the Orr, came from a long way back, if it didn’t take too much out of her she’s a huge chance.
    It’s a ripper of a race the Peter Young a hard one to kick the quaddy off.
    As for the diamond/slipper etc, unlike a number of disgraced UK celebs i have zero interest in the youngsters

  15. If, as it appears, you’ve givne up on the fav it is a very open race. What’s happened to Morgan’s? Star Rolling was thought to be well and truly up to this class.

  16. I thought he was going to keep Star Rolling to shorter distances and the Doncaster was mentioned. Might be a gunna, as might be Spillway. Leaves you with Happy Trails. Happy to be on him each way forever.

  17. Jock has stole my thunder with Alpine Eagle and I guess with success on KI Wolf is hoping for bigger things in Melbourne. Zayak my pick last week is headed to Pt Lincoln for the Cup Carnival
    Had a good tip for October Date in the first in Adelaide but the locals are also represented with good chances
    I do recall coming home from our honeymoon broke after splurging all the money I saved in Vietnam even with a winning day at the track in Sydney

  18. Well our plan is to go to Alexandra on Saturday. It’s their Cup meeting, so looking forward to it. Post work today i’m curious re the last in Albury, a new horse for the Emma Steel stable, Auntie Beverly. ‘;m probabbly the only Almanacker beting on it but here goes. I need to check who’s up @ the Valley tonigh;, when i get a chance.


  19. Oges, did you back Duric’s long odds winner at Flemington?
    I know you are a fan of The Impaler.

  20. You have to be joking -I follow him on some Saturdays but sadly let this slip.
    Hope the locals salute Sat

  21. note for those in Melbourne – Yearling Sales start at Oaklands Junction on sunday. Go out and have a look.
    for old trots fans, it is Interdominion time up in sydney.

  22. Guessing something amiss with both Eloping and Sistonic

  23. much more importantly how’s Katie Mallyon?

  24. My mail was ok but fractured wrist.

  25. Phew…saw none of it but asked Tom why races delayed.
    Very sad to see TVN Friday nights finished. Economic imperatives no doubt, but can’t help fondly remembering Ch31 Trots and the precipitous decline thereafter
    Good punting tmrw

  26. Sistonic, something wrong?-maybe the ride, should have let Eloping go and sit up outside it..brain fade.
    In Adelaide, I like Counter Spin in the 3rd about 10’s so a good EW and Winesearch in the 4th. Almighty Bullet is also a good roughy in the 6th, particularly with Gamblin Guru as Fav- he may need further and Brimarvi Prince is a doubt at 1200. Impossible to seed Taiyoo getting beaten so the quaddie is a treble. Interesting to see J O’Shea with one in the last here- Sabkhat so I would be expecting it to go close but it’s a tricky race with very average horses.

  27. Is the prize money boost having any impact on Adelaide racing?

  28. I may keep a few here rather than going to a Friday night meeting at MV but overall a help for any struggling owner ( like me). It costs about 66% of the Victorian cost to get one trained here so if prisemoney is half it still looks better to send your horse to Vic where there are a lot of options although the competition is tough.
    Hopefully the increases will help maintain stronger racing and maybe assist the breeeders here as well who are trying to stand some better stallions ( e.g Cornerstone has Dalakalani, standing at about 20K which is basically the local ceiling price) so local owners may invest a bit more.
    Unfortunately it doesn’t help my punting but I’ll continue to try grinding some profit out.

  29. Very keen today which doesn’t auger well and level of confidence is usually inverse to actual results.
    R1 – Narrowed it down to Fast Cash and Galaxy Pegasus. Take a quinella.
    R2 – Bonaria is the class, well weighted and 1400m suits 2nd up
    R3 – Can’t get over her win here at 2nd start. Ideal race for her here and looks overs at around the $8 on offer. Sabatini the danger.
    R5 – I suppose the fave wins. Suavito for the quinella. Worst Futurity in memory.
    R6 – Very happy to be on Happy Trails. Star Rolling out to silly odds ($50 Betfair) so saver each way on it.
    R7 – As mentioned in a previous post, pretty keen on Bel Sprinter here. A Time For Julia and Iconic next best.
    R8 – Hard to tip against Fontiton but can’t Bach her at those odds. Prefer something on Lake Geneva and Air Apparent.

  30. M Walker stated that Sistonic overraced throughout the race. Pretty hot swoopers track last night.

  31. R3 I was talking about Thinking Of You.

  32. Jock and others,
    March begins tmrw. Time to book for the ‘Bool.
    Make the effort. You’ll not regret it.

  33. Caulfield race 3. It won’t be twenty effin five to one but…

    Bet On A Bottle OF Smoke.

  34. What the hell did alpine eagle run it’s last 300 in? Amazing!

  35. Good seeing Riziz return in Adelaide. nice track at Alexandra.


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