Dr. Geoffrey Hutson's breakthrough book Watching Racehorses is out now! Learn about behavioural handicapping: how head tossing, pawing, salivating and other behaviours provide telltale clues about a horse's readiness to run.
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Flemington Chester Manifold Stakes Day

January 14th, 2012 2 comments

I had a busy day with the camera today. I’m trying to put together a decent library of bad behaviour on Youtube and today there seemed to be kickers galore- horses kicking out in their stall – everywhere. I settled on Winged Charm who must have let fly with twenty or so kicks before I finally decided to try and record it. The usual deal is that as soon as you start recording the horse decides that it doesn’t feel like being in a movie and gives up. And so it proved. But I managed a small grab of restless behaviour and two minor taps. When Winged Charm appeared in the yard for the last race she was all sweetness and light and totally relaxed and ran an excellent race for fourth. Other kickers racing today included Canonized, Rabbuka (in resistance to being saddled), Oamaru Rose, Zedi Power and Our Serena. Canonized ran second, Oamaru Rose was fourth, Rabbuka eleventh of twelve, Zedi Power tenth of eleven, and Our Serena sixth of twelve. In the book kicking has a behavioural handicap of 26%, and this statistic has barely changed in recent times. In other words, kicking horses can be expected to win 26% less often than expected by chance. That is a serious disadvantage and is why I never back kickers.

I’m also trying to get together a decent photographic record of different bit types. I managed a shot of a Norton bit on By The Way, but as my school report used to say, I could do better. The Norton is quite a serious bit used on pullers and I’ll try to do it more justice in the future. There was also an interesting bandage on the pastern of Chartreux and Star of Jeune sported the rarely seen martingale – a single strap diving down between the front legs that is meant to stop the horse throwing its head up.  And the farrier inspected a loose off hind plate on Warringal Warrior but left it at the trainer’s request as the horse was a bit edgy in the mounting yard. The plate was lost in the running! Dennis the farrier later told me that you can sometimes see a flying plate on the race replay. I had a good lookout for a flying sliver of silver but couldn’t spot it.

And punting was busy with four bets, for two placed horses, Deductible and Ravenous Lass, and two hopeless losers, not worthy of a mention. But the worst of it was my best bet of the day, Platamone Castle. I went to line up for my bet with two minutes to go and there suddenly seemed to be people everywhere. This was a rent-a-crowd. Where did they all come from? There were seven tote operators and a queue of four hopefuls at each of them. With one minute to go I jumped queues, which is always a no-no. I was still third in line when they jumped. Twenty punters let out an audible cry of anguish. Mine was the loudest. Platamone Castle got third at $2.80. When I finally left the track I was still spitting chips.

2 Responses to “ Flemington Chester Manifold Stakes Day ”

  1. AJ says:

    Two things…I recently read your book and started slowly applying the most observable of the many in the list to my punting at Fannie Bay race track in Darwin. So far so good with 4 favorite or second favorites being non winners after dumping in the saddling paddock. I am a bit of an advocate of your methods among my punting friends now. Hopefully you may get a few orders from it!

    Question though: Do you need any assistance compiling stats for publication either here online or for any forthcoming second book? I am a bit of a data crunching nut and am very accurate and timely if you want any free assistance. Reply to email Cheers AJ

  2. paul says:

    love the blog always read it keep it up

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