Crio’s Racing: Northern Salvation

My usual claim to bet sparingly looks pretty questionable against a confession of bets at both Port Hedland and Coffs Harbour since the weekend!

Truth is, of course, that I did sign off last week with a determination to find a winner, regardless of time and place.

Not surprisingly, the WA dabble was W A Pike inspired – a colleague alerted that the champ was heading up the coast for just two rides on Cup Day. One, we deduced, for familiarity, the next for the loot. Although his mount failed miserably, it was worth my token donation to finally watch coverage of the famous Pilbara town’s track. As they jumped it seemed a typical mining/port landscape, an endless freight train crawling across the backdrop to the dirt course. But, upon straightening, it was as if I’d switched Sky Channels….suddenly they were “flattening out” on grass as a large crowd cheered them home. Remarkable. Is this unique?

Two days later, on the eastern seaboard, Oges provided the salve with the good oil for Coff’s Cup Day. Our intrepid tipster has a phenomenal strike rate and hopefully bankrolled the holiday when G.Cooksley steered home Radiologist. Thanks Oges and be sure to give us a wrap on the 2 day Carnival/refuge from the icy south.

The most high profile winter racing escape, however, remains Darwin and their Cup Day continues to flourish – despite the unfortunate standing down of jockey P.Shiers just before the first after he failed a breath test!

If you could afford to stay north, there are still some juicy racing options. A “bucket lister” would be to trek across to Broome in time for their Cup on Saturday week (16/8). A convenient stopover would allow you to include the Halls Creek Cup (1700m, $10k, dirt) which is on this weekend in Wyndham.,WA,Wyndham

A more hurried trip would be required if you turned left at the Savannah Way junction in Katherine and bolted for Cairns where the 2-day Carnival culminates with their Cup (2100m, $50k) on Sunday – mathematically a feasible hike but, realistically, there’s too many sights and sites in between to justify the rush. Even if I was in Cairns, I doubt a trip to the track would top the list of travel tips!

For the rank and file who are unable to “hit the road”, it is back on the merry-go-round as familiar blurbs try to crank up the new season. On cue, the noms are released for Caulfield and the Cox Plate and, allegedly, spring and excitement are both in the air – which they are not. Noms are large. So is the prizemoney. The Caulfield Cup will require the imports to be of a high standard which, especially with some Japanese visitors, may well be the case. The 3yo Classics will need some early season emergences – the 2yo fillies showed up the paucity in the Colts’ ranks last season and yet they rarely back up as effectively. Moonee Valley will rev up the hype in lieu of what appears a continuing dearth of WFA challengers.

The opportunity, then, is certainly for some new stars to emerge. Anyone keeping an eye on trials in recent weeks would agree that they’ve been more interesting than the TAB fayre. A drip of quality is slowly returning from what was a lengthy and attritional Autumn.

The pick of this Saturday’s races is at Randwick, where a pretty smart lot contest the Missile Stakes (SR6, 1200m, WFA, G2). Most of these will play key roles in future features, so the runs of horses like Laser Hawk, Boban and Hawkspur will deserve as much scrutiny as those of the prime combatants, Sweet Idea, Rebel Dane and Messene.

My bet of the day in NSW is in the Rosebud (SR5, 1200m, 3yo) where I expect Sarajevo (4) to press his claim as a future star.

I will be swinging the bag at Flemington where it is Aurie’s Star Handicap Day, the history of which we covered last year. The constant drizzle this morning (Thursday) vindicates the decision to bring Tiger Tees down for the straight six (MR7, 1200m, Hcp, G3). I’m not a fan of his at cramped odds (9/4), but he’s won at G1 and should have these covered. I’ll go skinny with him in my quaddy.

In other legs:-

MR6- 3,4,5,7,9

MR8- 3,4,5

MR9- 1,3,9

Good luck!


  1. cowshedend says

    Crio, great wrap.. like Medecins Sans Frontieres, we are becoming ‘Punters without borders’.
    Oges on fire again, unfamiliar surrounds no barrier to his strike rate.

  2. A technicality, but Oges’ mail was correct on the Wednesday – the Cup was run today (Thursday) and won by Robert Thompson aboard Southern Shimmer.

    Good to see a little article in the Post on (former) trainer Jim Mason. My pledge was not to get too negative yet so I avoided lamenting retirements, but it is disappointing that a top fella like Jim is finding it too hard to persist on his own – pleasingly he has a key role now with the Greg Eurell yard.
    Whilst on good blokes giving it away, David Balfour has relinquished his licence. His sons remain in the game. “Balf” has bigger health issues to address.

  3. I ‘m over the ditch, but i saw Southern Slew come home in the Coffs Harbour race. No bets since leaving OZ. though was happy to leave OZ with a winner, the Gino D’Altotrio trained Sonro in the Forbes cup. Good, tough, bush horse.

    Let’s see how the next few days pan out re access to TAB’s.


  4. cowshedend says

    Might not be a bad day for a punt. HQ has a card chock full of wet trackers, likely to be disadvantaged by a good surface.
    really like Tony and Jake Noonan in the last with Zavada, gets a good gate and will sit on the pace.
    Reckless Assassin just about wins the 3rd.
    Bit of spring in the air with modest spring hopefuls like Jacquinot Bay having its first start back for Hayes, lofty ambitions see it entered for the Caulfield Cup and the Cox

  5. As you know, our weather pattern differs totally from the rest of suburban Melbourne. Normally that means it is drier here – we have had plenty of rain this arvo and it is still pelting down. Predicting slow6.

  6. I wont bore you with the weather needless to say Radiologist saved the day for me and the Cup was a mighty race. Racing is alive and well up here as it is in Central NSW
    We are off further north so Im out with tips for a while
    Glad you had something on the tip though Im having a good run at present thanks to good info

  7. Oges, you might become our Chief White Halfoat (for those who recall Catch22).

    Without our winning “dowser”, we’ll have to somehow push on…
    any Adelaide mail?
    The Spring Stakes has some good horses – keen to see Happy Trails back – but is a bit skinny.

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