The Bool and other festivities

I’m home and still euphoric from another ‘Bool week, now established as comfortably my favorite race experience. Unless you have joined the devoted throngs, you can’t possibly understand the wonder of this pilgrimage. It’s been disconcerting to hear and read on my return journey about the “carnage” of “a bad day” (The Age) at Warrnambool. That was certainly not how it was for the thousands on course who felt that they’d once again witnessed a dramatic, memorable finale to Australia’s best racing Carnival. There were so many incredible moments; the deluge of delight for young Brenton Primmer, back from the dead to train his first ever winner and trigger extraordinary scenes in the mounting yard; Smerdon’s legion of fans finally recouping some losses as Tinamou streeted the field in the Cup; the gleeful roar as the last fav saluted to finally give the punters some respite to end what had been a bookies’ benefit. Not surprisingly the papers have led with the injuries to members of the public – this is the media which covered only a fallen horse as worthy on Tuesday, and, admittedly the photos are great and the tale remarkable.  No doubt it came across in a grave light on the news, but that was not so as I craned my neck on the front mound to watch the great race. Horses fell – as they do – but none were injured and it became apparent that this was to be a battle of attrition. It was a small field to begin with – a consequence of the authorities’ past hesitance meaning less confidence in preparing jumpers, multiplied by the “blue moon” closeness of Oakbank and Warrnambool – and the early spills were unexceptional but unfortunate in that others were also “brought down” and another had a “saddle slip”! None of the tumbles looked as serious as that in front of the stand last year which had me initially and wrongly alarmed. But it did become apparent on top of the hill that, of the riderless curios still galloping, Banna Strand was coursing wide. As pack beasts, they tend to follow the others or, on home tracks, look for the stables. I was momentarily worried he’d crash in to the wall when, as suddenly as he disappeared, he then soared like an Adam Lindsay Gordon legend with a breathtaking leap. The exultant gasp of the crowd was like no other response I’d been part of…we had no idea where he’d landed nor of any collateral damage. Attention soon returned to the remarkable race itself and, indeed, the main topic straight afterwards was regarding Plumtastic’s dash to the front and then capitulation when the race looked his for the taking. Al Garhood was applauded as the champion survivor and the buzzing crowd knew a new chapter had been written for the Grand Annual…”What happens to the tri and First Four?” they queried. Still, the news bureaus can paint it however they wish…everyone there just books again for next year. The story doing the rounds of the watering holes last night was that the runner-up, Paddy Payne’s Awakening Dream, had dropped with a heart attack later in his stall! No confirmation of this today thankfully!

It is going to be hard to readjust to a humdrum Flemington meeting tomorrow with the empty betting ring and stands. Much interest will surround the debut of So You Think’s half-brother, the cleverly named Now You Know (MR2, No5). But there’s not much to get excited about. The Herald-Sun has rightly highlighted John Sadler’s rich vein of form as worth following. Sometimes these are the meetings from which something to follow emerges, but I’d be more keen on doing form for Qld Saturday or SA Sunday. Quaddy options, with little confidence, are 2,6,11/3,5,13/1,4,12/3,5,7.

Sydney’s best race is Canterbury’s Lord Mayor Cup, a good quality and even race…maybe 1,3 and 8.

The nation’s main meeting tomorrow is on the Gold Coast with the feature being the 1800m Hollindale Stakes, an outstanding race and perhaps the launching pad for Shoot Out to reestablish himself in the top niche.

If you can escape Mothers Day obligations, the Sunday meeting at Morphettville is a beauty, featuring the Goodwood Handicap, a time honoured highlight of the calendar. Crystal Lily deserves a win after her heroic chasing of Black Caviar, but it will be difficult. Maybe box with Catapulted, Ortensia and Undeniably.  The Lee Stakes and the SA Derby are other good races on what is an excellent end to Adelaide’s newly rejigged programming.

Brisbane races will soon take punters’ focus as the merry-go-round continues and Britain’s great races receive wider coverage these days, so there’s much to look forward to…

but I suspect my 2011 highlight has passed – I’ve recommitted for Warrnambool 2012. Can’t wait!


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Sharon Chapman is now in photographic folklore.

    The jock on Plumtastic went too early. If he’d stayed patient, he’d have won.

    I saw Banna Strand still running out on the road past the Man Trap.

    In the straight, I suspect that the jock on Awakening Dream wasn’t aware that the ‘second’ horse, now-riderless Plumtastic was indeed without a rider.

    Lovely report.


  2. If Matthew Ryan needs to replace Kibah Tic Toc, Banna Strand could be the one!
    I honestly thought the horse was going to career in to the fence – there was a story for the papers – when he reappeared, soaring incredibly with the biggest leap since Butch and the Kid! Now I have seen some footage and realize what a near catastrophe it was….if he’d clipped the fence, broken a leg, come down on top of people?? But he didn’t and it remains one of the most incredible crowd moments of my memory.
    A crio’s Q in the making!

    Also, anyone happen to see Frankel win the 2000 Guineas? Little wonder the So You Think’s romp has been ignored my British racing media?

  3. By the way, Mick Price utterly declared his in the first at Wang today.

  4. Chalkdog says

    Prices thing at Wang paid $1.20. Better than any bank since Pyramid!
    Big call about the moment at the Bool. What about the day at Princes Park when a Bulldog forward with a hypeneated surname took an overhead mark! Crowd reaction better than Ive ever heard…

  5. Peter Flynn says


    I did see Frankel.

    A champ in the making.

  6. I’d advise people to YouTube Frankel…please do not type as Freckle!

  7. Chalk, it won x7 easy!

  8. Peter Flynn says

    Vale Seve.

    I was lucky to watch him play many holes including the Postage Stamp at Troon.

    Vale Lionel.

    I didn’t see him box.

  9. PJF,
    I went to the entire 1984 Open at St Andrews and followed Seve. I never saw Lionel Rose. The common ground for them was the popular love of natural champions. Too young. Very sad. But their heritage is of good men and great entertainers.

  10. David Downer says


    Unintentionally I caught the Frankel race live the other week while flicking around after the footy. Being the 2000 Guineas thought it might be worth a look, but not following the UK form much, I had never heard of Frankel. That changed pretty quick – I was completely blown away by this race – perhaps the most remarkable performance I’ve ever seen. Period!

    Has any horse here ever achieved similar in a 1600m Group 1? Go like the absolute clappers from the barriers, open up by about fifteeen mid-way, and then still win by six?

    If Frankel meets So You Think at Ascot over 2000m, now that will be worth staying up for.


  11. Unless Dandy Andy blouses them both!! (or is that too far back for youDD?)

  12. Peter Flynn says

    Frankel will run in the St James’s Palace Stakes (Gr 1 3yo colts) over a mile.

    So You Think will run in the Prince of Wales Stakes (Gr 1 WFA) over 10f.

  13. Heard the trainer say he’s happy to stick to a mile.
    Here in the colonies, Vain won over a mile during his spring blitz (carrying 10lb over WFA).

  14. Peter Flynn says

    The George Adams by a lazy 4 lengths.

    Won the Craven A by 12 lengths?

  15. Yeah. Phar Lap and Vain own that week.

  16. Peter Flynn says

    Don’t forget Malua.

    Melbourne Stakes on the Saturday.

    The Cup on the Tuesday.

    A 6f WFA Race on the Thursday.

    I reckon Carbine won 4 races at an AJC Carnival.

  17. Extract from the all-pwerful Wikipedia…

    He won the Melbourne Stakes and became favourite for the big race. Carrying 9 st 9 lb (61 kg; 135 lb), Malua fought out the finish with Commotion (9 st 12 lb) to win by half a length. Two days later he won the six furlong weight-for-age Flying Stakes on Oaks Day.

    Malua had a marvellous constitution and in 1886 carried 9st 9lb to win the Australian Cup. In 1888 he was switched to jumping, not so unusual in those days and he won the VRC Grand National Hurdle, ridden by his owner, Mr J.O.Inglis. Malua continued racing combining it with his stud career until 1889.

    This was an extraordinary horse that was able to carry heavy weights and defeat the best racehorses in top sprint and staying races.[2]

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