Racing: All hail the brave punters

by Chris Riordan

When you have been round the traps, as I have, there’s a tendency to greet most occasions with a …”but I remember…”.

Cowering under the inadequate cover of Flemington’s main betting ring yesterday, I proposed to the nearest fogey –

“Were you here for Van der Hum?”

“Yes”, he panted,” but that was only rain.”

“How about that time at the Valley?”, countered another weathered face as sheets of hail smashed around us.

“They only ran the main race for the Queen then called it off”, reflected a nearby codger.

But it wasn’t like this. Nothing like today, we concurred.

It was, indeed, an extraordinary day for many reasons including, we must add, some fantastic races before nature’s grand intervention.

Even the days beforehand signaled unusual messages. Boards in Epsom Road warned motorists of a major event at the racecourse – SUNDAY!  Massive stages dominated the carpark as “Super Saturday” seemed a by-play of this “entertainment precinct”.

But the fields were great, the crowds poured in, the skies were clear and good racing ensued.

Shaaheq (R1) went from $1.7 to $1.9 on course but the Diamond bridesmaid deservedly won her maiden emphatically.

Avenue (4th in R2) labored under her impost as Dissolved capitalized on a classic S.King ride.

Shamrocker’s Sires’ Produce win (R3) was extraordinary, covering ground yet out-grinding highly rated Willow Creek. Danny O’Brien’s O’Reilly filly has the scope to be very good, perhaps even up to next Spring’s Oaks on this great effort.

Captain Coltish (R4) went from $4.2 to $6 but won comfortably against an unconvincing mob.

The racing highlight of the day was probably the Kewney (R5) where I’d thought an underdone Faint Perfume might ease back in to racing. A line of horses presented “at the distance” but Bart’s heavily backed Oaks heroine stamped her class authoritatively, finding the line as she wished. The runner-up, bolter Response, goes in to the black book.

My former favorite horse, Wanted, got his well-deserved Group One (R6) as the dark clouds enveloped Flemington. I’ll concede I’d sacked him but it was a cleverly rated ride and a comfortable win. The placegetters are also very good. Worryingly there are stories of All Silent breaking down. Hope that’s not the case but the track was probably hard during the running of the Newmarket and, ten minutes later, “unraceable”.

Flemington will now host a Sequel Saturday next week. The RVL should throw open the gates to appease a crowd which coped with extraordinary conditions yesterday. The Group Ones – Australian Cup and Guineas – now highlight a 10 race Blamey Stakes day which clashes with a gilt-edged Rosehill fixture.

Hardened punters will be there – we’ve seen it all!


  1. In my short lifetime, this was the biggest downpour, no doubt!!!
    No wonder some horses freaked in the tunnel, I think King Pulse was one.
    Nice review crio!

  2. mark freeman says

    Sequel Saturday – you oughta flog that to em Crio. And indeed they have thrown open the gates, very unlike the VRC or RVL.

    Been silence about my boy too – All Silent – until your mention there – didn’t give a yelp, but nor did other late closers El Segundo, Nicconi, Tickets etc. But certainly what short amount of footage we did see of him in the run he didn’t seem to be lobbing along as normal.

    Was in Adelaide, missed the storm. Incredible scenes. Possibly the highlight was the sound dropping out on Simon Marshall as he silently gabbed away on the box, then the screen zapped to static. Magic.

Leave a Comment