Racing Almanac- Winter Finals

Easily dismissed as irrelevant to those outside of the Racing Industry, winter racing still offers opportunity and income to thousands and, despite meetings often denounced as “lacklustre” or even dismissed as “poor”, authorities work hard at providing incentives to keep business vibrant.

Here in Victoria the VRC co-operates with other Metropolitan Clubs and with Country Racing Victoria to create a scope of series’ which offer competitive racing and enticing prizemoney “off peak”. Tomorrow, at Flemington, it is “Finals Day” and the accumulated card demands attention.

Certainly the best regarded of these annual stagings is the highly successful Winter Championship which promotes six races at various tracks – and provides $290,000 in prizemoney – in which competitors vie to gain qualification points for the $200,000 Listed finale at HQ.

It is worth looking at the construct of tomorrow’s card to see how the, often derided, authorities strive to accommodate for the range of thoroughbreds in training – with the sad exception of jumpers, for whom Flemington was once the zenith…although they’ve had great scheduling news at Warrnambool this week.

Look down your formguide in the morning.

R1-  2yo fillies  1000m  $75,000

R2-  3yo  1000m  $75,000

R3-  Rising Stars Final … 1800m  Rating95 – the culmination of 24 apprentice-only races across the whole state. The winner, decided by points accrued, will be Stacey Rawiller, younger sister of guns Nash and Brad.

R4- Banjo Paterson Final … Open 2500m $150,000 – Stayers have qualified through six city heats, worth $460,000, that have been spread, like the following series’, over the past two months.

R5-  Silver Bowl Final … 3yo 1600m $100,000 – Ratings Handicap for 3 yr olds comprising heats at Donald, Echuca (x2), Swan Hill and Bendigo leading to a glamorous City showdown.

R6- Winter Championship Final … 1600m $200,000 Listed Race

R7- All-Victorian Sprint Final … Open 1200m $150,000 – Again, heats held at various venues since May 5  allowed accrual of points for eligibility to a race down the famous straight for excellent prizemoney.

R8- Rivette Series Final … 3yo fillies  1600m $100,000 – this time the sprinter/miler girls have had a chance to show their wares en route to the final and, ultimately, the breeding barn.

It really is wonderful to see how this day has grown through racing people recognising their shared needs and interests and I hope this Xmas in July, or [email protected], gains the recognition and accolades it deserves. Punters should enjoy the challenge, knowing that the qualifiers have had to show some form and been set for this major payday, and bet with confidence that each competitor is racing to win…many will be “tipped out” for a spell next week.

Tomorrow’s big fields and depth of chances are a testament to the scheduling, but make finding winners tough.

The first has a fascinating cast, including a “smoky” over from Tassie (5), a debutante Fastnet Rock from Price’s stable (9) and strong country winners (2,6,8,10), offering a range of formlines. My selection, though, is Hayes’ Parisian Sunrise but this race carries the wise adage, “watch betting”.

Interest in the second will focus on former boom/glamour Colt, Our Baby Bonus, with punters to decide whether his bubble has burst or whether his last start defeat was simply a glitch. He probably should salute at skinny odds.

Trainer Robert Smerdon holds the key to the Apprentices’ final (R3), saddling up the first two in betting. I prefer Miss Lily Rose (8) at odds.

The stayers’ race is very tough and much will depend on the “going”. The Herald-Sun seems convinced of a bog but I’m expecting it to be Slow but OK – in fact, I am selecting a horse having his first try beyond 2000m, factoring in that Riveted (6) has an outstanding conditioner in Ciaron Maher.

The Quaddy legs don’t get any easier, but the $100,000 Jackpot will ensure massive interest.

The first leg could be a FIELD option as formlines converge from across the state. The toppy is the only city winner and thus earns the 58.5 steadier. Supercheap (12) might continue hoop Dean Yendall’s hot streak – he rode six winners at Mildura on Monday.

The Winter Championship final is a really good race with markets justifiably headed by the in-form and consistent Doubtful Jack and Ghostmilk. Whatever you do, include 25/1 pop O’Reilly’s Clock in your exotics.

It gets no easier in the Sprint Final, though I really rate Commanding Hope (2), but can concede a case for many others.

If you are still “alive” coming to the last a good div should beckon. In this, the top two look the best chances in what is probably the worst race of the day. The maiden, Lamichi, has a show, but you’d want to be in front rather than relying on this race as a “get-out”.

As always, any comments, tips or trivia are welcomed at this site. I can be found in the TAB at the MCG tomorrow afternoon closely monitoring the results.


  1. BTW, anyone reading tonight…the magnificent July Cup is on TV soon after midnight. Unfortunately I’ve not seen the form which is a shame as, with Starspangledetc and Nicconi at cramped odds, there might be some great value for an OS runner. It is always a great race at a fantastic venue; possibly my finest racing memory (except, of course, Kingston Town “can’t win” in 1982).

  2. Crio,

    Love the blurb and your recognition of the VRC’S attempt to create a day. I also love your reference to “starspangledetc”.

    Big gut feeling Sydney race 6 nunber 1, “Shaketheground”

    Twenty Grand if heavy at Flemington in race 7, and thats all she cried.

  3. Elvis,
    At least you’ll know the correct rating by Race 7. It has been cold but dry here. A Heavy track would be a big disappointment.

  4. I see Starspangledthingamee got the biscuits at Newmarket so no bet a good result!

  5. mark freeman says

    Get the man an asbestos suit – Deano on fire as usual today. Got the quad up, paid 15 hunnert (me just a tasty sliver of it). And he picked the first four in the Silver Bowl – woulda been nearly 4k for a $24 box first four. Man’s extraordinary. Nice work yourself on Supercheap Crio – was also one of Deano’s, would have been a nice result.

    Don’t forget they’re going over the sticks at the ‘Bool tomorrow – two hurdles and a steeple, incl two hunnert thousand buck races, the relocated Tommy Corrigan and the Thackeray. Classy jumpers going for the big bucks – Some Are Bent is back, there’s Annual winner Sir Pentire, Al Garhood, Virvacity, and up and comers Regal Heir (won very well at the Bool last start) and Tibooburra Travis.

  6. Just staking issues away from a good win today. Glad you won handsomely. I went to the ‘G and will try to return tomorrow.
    The meeting at Bool tomorrow is outstanding as is the one in 2 or 3 weeks’ time, but, regrettably, I’ll get to neither. Good luck on the punt.

  7. Crio,

    is the VRC right in feeling threatened by the AFL’s first Saturday in October proposal in 2011?

    I am not well versed in racing phenomenon hence the curiosity.

  8. Phantom,
    I’m only a pretend expert, but, on face value the answer is YES…the AFL is a threat to all the other sports as, in a mini version of EPL’s effect in Britain, it consumes all other sports, especially in the media. These days, even betting outlets pump all the alternatives to racing. So racing is under threat and that, possibly, is just a cultural thing.
    In truth the media hype on the races doesn’t start (as it should) at the Craiglee and especially the Turnbull (programmed to clash with GF), only really getting public scrutiny with the Guineas, a week before the Caulfield Cup.
    Racing has a lot of problems of its own and this won’t help but it cannot be held to blame. I remember in March when people on course were saying that crowds (!!) would drop further once footy started. The AFL complied by having bugger all Satdy arvo games here anyway! Local footy, it is true, sucks up a lot of gamblers, but racing has a core of lovers, desperates and loyalists – and then the theatregoers who we loathe, fleece and so desperately need.
    No answer there I’m afraid Phantom!

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