Racing – turn the calendar

Australian Racing recognises August 1 as a default birthday for the horses and, naturally then, the change of seasons. For competitors graduating from 2yo or 3yo company, it can have some implications but, certainly in the eyes of punters, it is just another day on the merry-go-round. The best that can be noted is that we turn the page and can begin to look ahead towards Spring. But, as a glance at this weekend’s metro offerings affirms, that’s still some way off.

Let’s quickly (before I switch on the cricket) go anti-clockwise around the nation and take a look at what each state can offer as a New Year’s gift to racelovers.

NT – clearly the highlight and where everybody would prefer to be this weekend. Saturday’s the Palmerston Sprint (R7, 1200m), a really good race that I expect African Pulse to win. It’s a 4.55 finish on Saturday so the battlers can scrub up for the Gala Ball under the stars, recover at the Calcutta on Sunday arvo and then be laid to waste by the Cup deep into Monday. You have to experience it.

WA – where else but Broome? Modest, run-of-the-mill meeting, but embrace the climate and views. Presumably Mick Heagney nails a treble. More about ambience than animals.

SA – here’s a highly rated option to whack on the bucket list…Roxby Downs hosts the last heat of the Outback Cup Series. This is a big deal in a little town, which exists to service the massive Olympic Dam mine and processing plant. Recommended.

VIC – Moonee Valley. The forecast is freezing, but if they can play cricket in Brummy we can handle a meeting at the “Action Attraction”. Surprisingly, the day opens with a pretty interesting 3yoF BM78 (note the piss-take sponsor of United Refrigeration). There’s form here. Expect the winning trainer to say it will be “put away for something better in the Spring”! 4,2,1 are all highly regarded and I like the naming of Maternal (out of Divine Madonna). The rest of the card is not too bad, but, as they say, there’s much better to come. Can’t be sure that the same positive forecast can apply to the “cobalt saga” which continues a smoke+mirrors simmering as mainstream media awaits something sensational to break – might need some patience. Another issue in RVL we’ll discuss in due course is the new ruling re whip use. Again, it seems motivated by fear of, pardon the pun, backlash from do-gooders. In my blurred memory, P.Cook had to give the great King a few “wake-ups” before the post the first time around during the legendary “Kingston Town can’t win” Cox Plate. Good horsemen use whips wisely…there’s the problem – too many hoops are not good horsemen and the minority miscreants are creating the reformist agenda. To be discussed further (Dec 1 deadline)!

NSW – hmmm…I am so off Sydney races but here’s a NY resolution to find something positive. I looked up at a screen last week as a winner was booted home up there – and I just knew the rider had to be Sam Clipperton. He’s the only one who seems to use knees and feet (refer above!) and, having been apprenticed to champion rider and gentleman Ron Quinton, I hope he “kicks on” to be a star. James McDonald, Tommy Berry and Nash Rawiller provide strong opposition at Rosehill as the young fella continues his improvement. I’ve not had a bet in Sydney for ages but maybe it is time to reconsider – every bookie I speak to tells me that it is the graveyard for them. That’s a fair referral. If desperate I might “fall-in” for the last. 2 seasons ago we spruiked Saintly Lad for Spring. Here he is, still unfulfilled (ouch…know how he feels!) and eligible for much easier than this mid-Winter BM75. Despite the outside gate, I’m reckoning this is his 2015-16 launching pad! 14/1 E/W.

QLD – Imagine naively wandering in to a travel agent overseas and wanting a Sunshine holiday in Australia. You’d hope for a Sunshine Coast apartment but a shonk might discount redirect to a Sunshine (Vic) ablution! This stupid scenario appealed to me as I imagined Leigh Jordan’s sellers misleading a trainer for the a non spell-checked Cup – Caulfield being the prestige, Corfield being the less renowned! Population 7, Corfield (1500kms N/W of Brissie) has Cup Day on Saturday. Some might suggest this would be more fun and certainly more genuine than the indulgent fashionfest down Dandy Road in October – whilst acknowledging the hardy/slow conveyances involved (the best of which might proceed westwards towards Birdsville).


The Australian batsmen are on their way to the middle so I’d better take block. Plenty of time between now and Saturday to discuss winners. Birthday/New Year/any day really…tips welcomed.

Good luck!




  1. How about Kav and O’Brien being defended by the bloke who’s represented Corstens a million times? Specialist!
    Ignites a potential crio’sQ? of “allies you could do without”, especially after the media support for Guess Who from Mundine, Aker and the constantly reinvented (and funded) Jason Mifsud…but I won’t go there on this tone of forum.
    The next phase in the cobalt inquiry will make news on Monday.

  2. cowshedend says

    How’s the prizemoney for The Haskell at Monmouth Park, went up from $1M us to $1.75us after nominations! This with American Pharoah going around 5’s on, it did encourage a few late noms, although who wouldn’t try and get a run even though you are only going around for silver or bronze.
    Very strange way of doing things to alter the prizemoney after noms, i know we created races to entice the likes of Black Caviar, but these are plotted on the calendar.

  3. Unusually, there’s plenty to look forward to early at the Valley tomorrow. I’ve already noted R1 in the rant above, but the 2nd also demands attention. I reckoned the toppy, Bantam, was the one. Hawkes’ have pushed hard for their’s, Top Me Up. But Brent Stanley has basically declared first starter Attack The Line (D.Oliver) and indicated a G1 campaign!

  4. I think Hioctdane is a chance in the 5th at the Valley sitting behind Lord Durante and Honourable Aussie and also Lake Sentetia could be ready to improve at her best track later in the day. Danchai a good hope in the jumpers flat ( last race)
    In Adel Creance will improve in race 4 and so will Wise & Happy in the 6th. Forecast has been rain for the past week but hasn’t happened yet so track should be Ok ish.
    Foxtel issues again, the “new ” box was maybe a re furbished one and has died after a week so I will only see Valley races and footy tomorrow. I’m not missing much by the look of the fields.

  5. cowshedend says

    Their never far away when they spruik, the Hawkes.
    know it’s a shorty but Raposo for Paddy Payne should win at the weights

  6. I am actually looking forward to the early races!!…unlikely to be punting though.

  7. Crio
    apparently the trotting club want the governing body to pay them more for putting on a meeting. From what I can glean the gov body pays about 2.5K per meeting and the club wants about 3 times that. I think 2.5K per meeting isn’t much and they probably have a case but no trots in the metro area is a bit of a problem although Pt Pirie and Kapunda probably don’t mind

  8. Yep, today 1/8 is the horses birthday, happy birthday Gee Gees. I’ll have a look at M Heagneys rides in Broome, whilst in the Palmerston Sprint i’m taking the toppie, the Neal Dyer trained Action Again.

    A couple of Cup meetings Monday, Darwin and Forbes. Re the former which of the Dyer horses does one take, with me leaning to Royal Request, who has already delivered for me this prep. Ditto at Forbes , where I picked the Cup winner in 2014, do I favour trained by Brett Cavanough or ridden by Greg Ryan ? Any tips ?


  9. 12 months ago on Monday I cheered Mick Heagnyy home to claim the Forbes Cup. Today, Saturday 1/8, I again cheered Mick Heagney home to collect a country Cup, this time the Qantas Kimberley Cup in Broome. Mick Heagney travels a mile or tow to ride a winner.


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