It is not only footy fans who face unfamiliar fixturing this weekend. Punters, too, face the realities of winter’s hiatus from feature racing as they scan their Friday formguides.

Brisbane’s “metropolitan” meeting moves 40km to Ipswich, usually a Friday venue but, for this weekend, hosting 20,000+ patrons , drawn by good fields, good prizemoney and good marketing – and, of course, the novelty factor. This initiative has been a resounding success and could be a model for other States’ authorities to consider in response to track “wear and tear” and the perceived “humdrum” of off-peak racing…there is little to lose as normal Saturday crowds are abysmal.

Melbourne’s macabre metropolitan meeting is at Sandown. Unfortunately, though there’s some good racing to anticipate, there is even more about some consequences to dread. The Australian Hurdle and Australian Steeple are very good races but will garner most attention from “ambulance chasers” looking to feed on any mishaps that might occur. I find these people tiresome, even sick, and hope that they get nothing to gorge on – including any media coverage which just encourages the lunatic fringe. Rather unfortunately, the legs of the Double are then sponsored by Le Pine Funerals, perhaps an association we could have done without for this occasion. But it is that sort of day! The fall/ casualty ratios are more significant than the race results.

It should not be thus. The Steeple features the remarkable Mazzacano as topweight and favourite. Last year Robbie Laing produced a masterful training feat for a defense of the 2008 crown and now history beckons with a possible “three-peat”. Tarawera will be a worthy opponent.

The popular elect in the Hurdle is certain to be Smerdon’s Black and Bent, backing up from some outstanding flat form. There are plenty of other chances in a very open race.

For punters, the Quaddy races are pretty good but you’ll need to find wet trackers and, preferably, some proven course form. My numbers are 1,5,7,1.

If you are looking to fill in this weekend’s “bye”, come to Sandown and say hello at the Turfbet stand.

The track always provides good racing , is easily accessed by car or train and has cheap admission. You’ll find vast lawns, ample cover and plenty of excellent viewing vantages. But, please, only come if you want to see the racing.


  1. Crio,

    On a day bereft of a hell of a lot of excitement or “talking horses”, your foreword was just about the best yet, in my opinion. The refernce to the “ambulance chasers looking to feed on any mishaps that might occur” was Pulitzer.

    To the Sports.

    I have not looked at Sandown The exotic punter that I am, I have concentrated on Ipswich (did I really say that)and in particular, the treble races, 6,7 and 8.

    I will give myself an uppercut later for expressing this, but I am going to back SIR SLICK. He ran a very good race 2 starts ago at WFA. That is his go. And the opposition is the weakest he has met in probably, well, ever.

    I like LOOKING FUR LANG in the 7th

    In the last, Lucky Harry Perks has still got TOBOUGGIE WOOGIE and that alone gives it an edge. Each way.

  2. Crio,

    I am locked in for Darwin. Arrive about 10:30 on the Saturday, have accomodation at the Airport Inn for 3 nights and fly out late Tuesday afternoon.

  3. Elvis,
    I can’t believe you’ve not tipped Morgan’s at Sandown!

  4. Crio,

    Didn’t know he had one in. I will be on or risk a sleepless Saturday night.

  5. Crio,
    Embarrassingly, it has just hit me that the Ipswich Cup is NOT WFA. There goes the basis of my theory. Halve my bet now. Probably a good thing.

    Glad I got in before Budge corrected me.

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