Crio’s racing: Not “relatable”

I’ve just finished marking NAPLAN essays. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them from across all of the state and all imaginable abilities. This year there was a “new”, remarkably common word. 30, 40, maybe 50+ times a writer used “relatable”.

It was obviously important for kids appraising a favourite show/film/song/sport.

“What the hell”, I asked myself, “is relatable?”

Yesterday another job took me out past Tarneit. New houses beyond the horizon. Bulldog heartland, you might reckon, but they might as well barrack for the Pies/Hawks/GWS – no “back to the club after the game”; it’s something on the telly, competing with ManU and the Cavs. As National Leagues get bigger and meet wonderful KPIs, they become much the same as one another – they “disconnect”.

Racing has mastered the “disconnect”. My vintage went to a race (or even a glamorous night trot) meeting as kids. It’s what you did. Grandparents, the shopkeeper, certainly much of the parish!

The world, young ‘uns remind me, has changed…but racing authorities do themselves no favours.

Like so many other sports and “events managers”, they pay the PR gurus who saturate a “Carnival”, targeting a demographic of trendy drunks. Marquees, celebs and bubbles. Oh dear! No trickle down for the other 50 weeks. No point of difference. The first Darwin Cup weekend I attended was notable for backpackers and billionaires all in shorts and knocking back cans in the betting ring. Within a couple of years the main drag had (almost recycled) posters of a glitzy frock, a fascinator and the allure of something extraordinary (probably a hangover from cheap bubbly!). Fannie Bay as Flemington!

This Saturday, post Straddy, is arguably the lowpoint of the season. The main races, I suppose, are at Ipswich, where the last 3 are all pretty good and Listed… the Cup, the Eye Liner and the Gai Waterhouse Classic. But here’s the depressing fact – it is officially an 18+ meeting. Yep. No kids allowed. A free drink with Admission and sorry if the horses get in the way of your fun. You want evidence? Is this a brave initiative or a disgrace?

Fortunately not all bodies have followed this path with country, and especially picnic, clubs trying to get back to grassroots.

Thus, for this week, we’ll highlight the ripper day in store for those able to get to Quorn in SA’s Flinders Ranges (the birthplace of Fos Williams). Sure, they’ll have the obligatory fashions and encourage dress-ups, but this meeting is one of a series that make a circuit through iconic Australian towns in that general region…Hawker, Quorn, Port Augusta, Roxby Downs. They are an important part of the local calendar. Anyone been up there? Reckon it would be a fantastic weekend.

My fate, however, is to be at Flemington. It’s always a privilege to work at the races, but this will be a pretty lowly day – the betting ring remains in a wind tunnel and the VRC open no food or drink outlets out there for the public. Meanwhile, of course, the Committee impersonates Nero. Due to excellent fixturing, the fields hold up pretty well throughout the day. Track’s currently a Good4 and Rail’s out 6m. Might try Olly in the last.

For those happy to sit up late, the Royal Ascot meeting is on next week. Whilst there’s a lot of sideshow crap, the core of this Carnival is the calibre of the horses. This is the “A” Grade.

Back home we’ll punt on fields more akin to our old report cards. I’m unlikely to get near a formguide so need a push.

The Triple Crown’s been won and the Bays have broken their 2015 duck. Persistence pays! Must be my turn soon. Tips please. Good luck!

And check out Ladbrokes $2 footy favourites deal and all of their racing and sports prices.




  1. Skip of Skipton says

    My nephew Bazza has just moved 10km further away from the city so he can get to it quicker. Strange but true. You can stick Tarneit, cobber!

    The Birdsville-Bedourie-Betoota round in early September is the go,
    then straight into the Kalgoorlie round in late September.

    Great to see the Triple Crown in America go off, but I didn’t get the ‘hit’ from it I have imagined I would for all these years. Probably the lamestream media’s lack of coverage. Twenty or thirty years ago that would be back-page or next to.

  2. cowshedend says

    Crio, great wrap, i share your frustration, but racing Vic have got me nostalgic again. Because i’ll need to fossic upstairs for my portable Astor for when Sky take Vic racing off the screen, and will have to listen to the ‘Wireless’ to get a fix. Wonder if they might be able to hunt down Ray Benson or Ron Pappslotto to call for the next couple of months for old times sake, as i work out the shed hammering wet weather stops into my Jenkins High cuts!
    While you were doing Naplan, last Saturday i was in Nap Land listening to th MVRC chairman waffle on about how well they were going, and as we gazed out from the lofty heights of the members onto the vacant lawn below, it is impossible to think of a more dilusional industry.
    As for American Pharoah, watching it donkey lick them at Belmont, the sobering comment was made after the race, that on times Secretariat would have beaten it by 17 lengths, what a freak!

  3. Steve Hodder says

    oughta napalm NAPLAN and perhaps Ipswich too. Hope Olly is ok to ride.


  4. Racing not relatable? How about a sepia tinged weepy of the trainer with his arms around the horse’s neck after it has won a big race. Loved it so much that I tricked its body into feeling oxygen starved, and poisoned it with heavy metals at 100x the naturally occurring level. So it would generate more oxygen carrying blood cells and run longer through the pain barrier.
    The Lance Armstrongs of horse racing. They train expendable cash cows not race horses. Rub ’em out for life. Wonder how many other of their ‘champions’ got the juice?
    At least when Tommy Woodcock gave Phar Lap arsenic tonics he was ignorant of the long term consequences.

  5. Great rant Crio. Love “relatable”. We live in an era where its acceptable to simply make up words. The Yanks are world champions at it. But in the AFL the players talk about which team they are “versing” next week. I assume they are sitting down for a chat with Banjo Paterson.

  6. How can you top this Crio and the related posts. Still got to keep the faith even though my tipping is woeful and my SANFL team is bottom beaten by the Bays(ok Budge your turn as I have already had a phone call last week from a bragging front runner Bay supporter)
    I’m on the locals again this week – Cowshedend how was your day at the track last week?
    How is the news of the latest allegations going to impact?

  7. Crio, Poor old teachers, one just blew in to Adelaide today from Melb so I’ve been hearing all about it but he has been ‘on song” re the punt and is trying Soros in the Eye Liner tomorrow.

    I like Kaizaen in the 3rd at Flemington.. Beat Amicus last prep who then won a group 1 so should have something on them if ready…also won second up lats time. Prepared to risk Anatina in the 5th from barrier 1 where they don’t appear to be able to win from and will be on About Square EW.
    Ordinary day in Adelaide but will try Cool Hero in the 7th. The rail is out a long way so may be worth a look to see if leaders are advantaged.

    Colbalt is getting interesting now everyone is blaming the vet.

    On Ipswitch letting in only 18+ -what a disgrace, people can’t take their kids to the races maybe they should forget the races and just have a phantom meeting somewhere and all get shitfaced instead.

  8. Good on you Jock. That’s the sort of positivism I need.
    Don’t class me as a teacher apologist – not a staff room fan at all.
    Checking your “form”…did you go to the Bay on Monday? I see that Peter Maynard’s boy is making an AFL debut this week.
    The cobalt stuff is pretty boring until judgements are made. Percy Sykes anyone?

  9. Gerard S says

    No knock on the American Pharoah three peat, but it does throw the performance of Secretariat into sharp relief.

    Giving Risen From Doubt one more chance in the R6 dash at headquarters tomorrow. That fails, I’m done till bud burst.

  10. I was happy to have put my hard earned on Real Surreal in the last at Ipswich, though I should have put more on. A nice swooping run to salute was a joy to watch.


  11. I saw that win Glen – one of the “you beauty” cries if you are on. A withering burst!

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