Crio’s Racing: Autumn Grand Final Day at Flemington

Here’s Flemington’s programme.  Pick the non-time-honoured. The Newmarket, The Australian Cup, The Blamey, The Kewney, The Sires’ Produce, the MyKitchenRules Stakes.

The upside, of course, is that this must be run and won before the Ch7 News so we’ll get out at a reasonable hour. The other plus, I guess, is that it confirms free-to-air coverage which will bring some ripper races to a wider audience. Hopefully there’s a good crowd on course to create and enjoy the theatre, unlike Guineas Day last week which had another terrible attendance in public areas. This, perhaps, was just as well given that the car park was cluttered by a Cirque de Soleil Tent City, some Food and Wine Fest fancies and a massive assemblage of stages and sideshows for the back-to-back Music Festivals which delivered huge crowds down Racecourse Road on Sunday and Monday.

The Newmarket deserves a turn-up to rival the “good old days” – it is a riveting, if uncustomary, edition. No filtering down the 24 runners for lightweight smokies; this is a heavyweight clash of only 9 runners with 4 of them under 5/1 and the rest no hope. Alas, this won’t be enough to lure the lost demographic back to the track (as if the VRC have even noticed).

I canvassed some likely suspects this week, keen followers of form and regular punters.

“Going this week?”

At work – “Nah”, said David (Kensington). “Why would I? I can sit in my trackies at home, turn down the volume and avoid the tryhards”.

At the Supermarket – “Not any more”, replied Paul. “The racecourse experience does nothing for me nowadays. I’ll probably go to the pub, pay no admission, drink and eat what I prefer and get home when I want. I only ever bet online now anyway.”

At the café – “For sure”, according to Jan. “We’ve got free tickets to the Members. Are there any big races?”


There certainly are. At Flemington and also at Rosehill, though I’d give the points to Melbourne’s offerings this week.

After a typically tricky Listed 2yoF opener, some real quality emerges for a 3yo 1100m, with Sistonic as a lead pick (due to H’cap conditions) but probably better cases able to be made for main threats, Earthquake and Nostradamus.

The Sires’ Produce Stakes (MR3, 1400m, 2yo, SW, G2) has lost relevance and tenuously retains its rating these days. Top two are probably the measuring sticks but stay out as there’s a lot better to come later in the day.

The Blamey (MR4, 1600m, SWP, G2) has also had a chequered recent history. On face value Suavito may not appear a 5/4 sort of horse. Against this mob it’s probably about right.

The Kewney’s not a bad race this year (MR5, 1400m, 3yoF, SW, G2). Sabatini has been going great and is deservedly the pick. Wawail is the query – what happened?

As mentioned, The Newmarket (MR6, 1200m, H’cp, G1) has the hallmarks of a classic. Lankan Rupee, Chautaqua, Terravista, Brazen Beau are all top notch. The winner will take the crown.

The Australian Cup (MR7, 2000m, WFA, G1), as at Caulfield a fortnight ago, has punters mainly arguing about the potential of Protectionist versus the irresistible formline of Happy Trails, whilst Peter Gelagotis chuckles that his Mourinho just beats them both again. Patrons will be delighted to see Cup legend Red Cadeaux back at HQ…perhaps another heroic second (en route to Sydney)? I’m tempted by the 14/1 Foreteller which has form around those shorter in the market.

Don’t switch off straight after the G1s as the next (MR8) is a really competitive 1600m F+M SWP G3 with both quality and depth. Set Square, Bonaria (chasing a three-peat) and Noble Protector all go in to my Quaddy but that might not be enough.


So here’s Saturday’s suggested schedule, assuming most readers won’t bother with the train to the races.

Clear the decks for a couple of hours in the afternoon (3.20pm-5.20pm) and find a TV. Hopefully you’ve got TVN and can enjoy a final day of top notch coverage. Otherwise get to a pubTAB. As a last resort Ch7 will have to do.

You’ll get to watch the Newmarket (3.50pm), the Australian Cup (4.30) and the F+M Trophy (formerly Matron Stakes, 5.10pm).

As a bonus there’ll be three races from Rosehill, not necessarily great punting propositions but, in the first 2 at least, featuring boom favs.

The Sky High Stakes (3.30pm, SR6, 2000m, SWP, G3) looks readymade for Hartnell after its slashing debut second in the Chipping Norton. Odds-on, look-on.

The Coolmore Classic (4.10pm, SR7, 1500m, F+M, Quality, G1) is always highly sought. First Seal has an awkward gate and will be a short quote but she appears to be the real deal. Watch and enjoy.

Then there’s the Phar Lap Stakes (4.50pm, SR8, 1500m, 3yo, SW, G2), a far more open betting race. Winx is becoming a bit of a bridesmaid so needs to salute here to regain momentum. It won’t be easy; there are a stack of chances.


Horseracing’s certainly in the spotlight right now – on the upside there are fantastic horses and races to watch; countering that is the continuing Cobalt mutterings and the imminent TVN closure.

This is the last good Saturday City meeting down here in Melbourne for months – the provs get a chance the next 2 weeks as Moonee Valley hosts Group One Friday Nights and the real focus shifts to Sydney….Slipper Day next week will be magnificent.

Until then there are races to watch and winners to be found.

Good luck!





  1. Initial viewing of form has Noble Protector as my bet of the day (so far). I’ll be amazed (and happy) if she doesn’t start clear favourite here. Back her into Sistine Demon in the last.

  2. The Contributer formline is irresistible

  3. Budge, I like your first tip but unsure of the second one with 3 or 4 potential leaders.
    I’m keen on Spillway in the Aust Cup and notice that Hawkspur is around 40’s in Sydney on a track currently rated a slow 6, so I’ll be having a bet there, particularly with Hartnell odds on-great run first up but could be looking for 2400 but also has great slow track form

  4. cowshedend says

    Had a go at Spillway a month ago in the futures (mug eh?) took $38,
    worth nice coin to me, but reckon he’s a bit of a gunna, with you Crio Contributer all class.
    Hate straight racing but the Newmarket is a mindblower, can’t wait.
    Jock, your Alpine Eagle was brilliant last week, looks a Cox Plate horse, can’t see them going to the Emirates, looks a real 10 furlong horse ,the Mackinnon would suit it even better round HQ.

  5. After the Adelaide Cup the card at the Parks track is not a strong one and I look to the local hopes e/w
    Is Ed Dunlop here with Red Cadeaux and able to come back in distance?
    It’s a tough race and as I have done badly in the Newmarket in the past I will stay clear again
    Oakbank kicks off the season with a Sunday meeting but the jumps fields look thin on the ground
    Easter at Oakbank is still a real picnic day out
    Good punting all

  6. Andrew Fithall says

    Having this meeting a week later than usual means I am attending the first time for a few years – Golden Plains takes precedence on the long weekend.

    In an email conversation this morning with a professional-punting friend, his response to my question “are you heading to Flemington”:

    Im a non starter. Losing a bit of interest in going to the races.

  7. Reckon it will be busy in the Members – I’m on Rails stand 9 if you are passing by.
    Good luck (and tips pls!)

  8. Crio,

    Looked up previous winners of the Blamey thinking a who’s who would roll out. Not so. Apart from two or three genuine good ones over the past decade, you need to go back to Bona Fide Champions Vo Rogue and Better Loosen Up with consecutive repeats 1988 to 91.

    With that, I think a couple of imports in Guest Of Honour and Waxing(?) would not have to be too flash to feature, and join the likes of recent winners Largo Lad, The Fuzz, Rosden and Walk On Air. Suavito is stupid short to my mind.

  9. Love the imports first-up at HQ Mile, but query Waxing no run in nearly 2 yrs + S.King.
    On hoops, 2 questions
    Why has the great Magic Man only got 2 rides?
    Who is J.Doyle, riding for O’Shea in the first 3?

  10. Elvis – spot on. Everything went right last time for Sauvito -still a very good horse but maybe it will have to lead tomorrow. I like Guest of Honour and think that Waxing is a project for Williams and will just have a run or two and wait for spring.
    Anyone think that Sabatini is unders in the Kewney? I do, outside barrier a big minus. I reckon Peggy Jean has the background to win a good race without much depth.
    Getting keen on Hosting in the last…not too many to pass in the straight now

  11. Unusual turn of phrase Jock, “spot on Elvis”. Not seen before. Don’t expect we’ll see it again anytime soon.

  12. Budge,

    I won’t dignify your comment to Jock who responded positively to my observations with a response, other than to say (all right, I’ve blown that pretence) that at least I have come up with a couple at (a) odds greater than $2.30 and (b) have a realistic chance (see Sistine Demon)

  13. Omitted a mention of Deep Field tmrw. Does a win prove anything?

  14. Budge,
    I’ve had a few with Dodgie tonight, any guesses why Elvis appears a genius?
    Crio, Deep Field win really only proves that the Rupee is at his best in autumn and should be fav in the Newmarket and one out in any quaddie

  15. Can’t have a bet in Newmarket.
    Most I liked Thursday have tightened too much so might not try tmrw
    Nevertheless looking fwd to the day

  16. Crio,

    Deep Field. Don’t know it. I’m a Lankan convert. He was absolutely devastating in the Lightning, and even a poofteenth of improvement sees him win, and I am with my mate Jock. One out in the Quad.

  17. Thank God it was Extra Zero coming at Spillway

  18. Noble Protector!

  19. Some great nudges this week boys.
    Budbe, how dominant Noble Protector?
    Jock and cowshedend, good get Spillway.

    still reckon the Magic Man was the star – he is just the best.

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