At last, the long-awaited sequel to Dr. Geoffrey Hutson's breakthrough book Watching Racehorses is now available! In Watching More Racehorses, learn more about behavioural handicapping, betting on horses to lose, and the taxation of gambling winnings! Order Now!

The Melbourne Cup

November 6th, 2018

The heavens opened at about 7 am and didn’t stop until midday. 43 mm in my gauge! Wow! Too wet for a serious bet, but the track drained remarkably quickly to a Soft 6. My tram was held up by the floods and I didn’t get to the track and out the back until about an hour before the race. No time to see all the Cup runners and just a brief scan of the internationals.

My spot on the mounting yard fence was occupied by hats which made viewing conditions very difficult. The Cliffsofmoher was frothing on the bit, but it was pink froth! I quite like salivation, but blood in the mouth?! That’s a bad sign. A portent of doom, perhaps. I couldn’t have Cross Counter who I had marked as a head-up horse. The ear muffs were good but the bandages were bad, especially considering the interrupted preparation, and the wet track The horse was sweating freely which is a positive on a day of 100% humidity. With hindsight, maybe the bandages were a furphy!

I loved two cleanskins – Marmelo and Muntahaa. Muntahaa was probably the pick of the yard but either didn’t handle the going or the trip. Marmelo was just beautifully relaxed and looked the winner late. I backed them both for the place. I am always happy to win with my only bet for the day. Just think, Marmelo might have won if the jockey hadn’t weighed in a kilo overweight! I imagine that there were a few punters spitting chips when they heard that news!



Derby Day

November 3rd, 2018

The greatest day of racing on earth. But I suggest it should be renamed Hotham Handicap Day.

Or maybe Prince of Arran day! After all, wouldn’t you rather bet on a seasoned stayer than a three-year-old having its first try at a distance?



Cox Plate

October 27th, 2018

It’s all Winx!




Caulfield Cup

October 20th, 2018

It’s raining at my place. Steady, heavy, beautiful rain. There’s 10 millimetres in my gauge. Great for the parched garden, which has its tongue out lolling, but a disaster for the races. It delays my departure for the track for more than an hour! Watching rain is nearly as good as watching racehorses!

My intended bet The Cliffsofmoher looks fabulous out the back. Standing forward in the stall, relaxed, no strapper attention, half asleep. But look at Duretto for strapper attention. How cool is that? Compare it with Best Solution, who is very restless and has the fussing of two strappers constantly fiddling with him. The strapper of Kings Will Dream is terrific, positive, and stroking a nice calm and interested horse.

It starts raining on my racebook when the horses get into the parade ring. The page is too soggy to write on. My intended bet The Cliffsofmoher is crabbing sideways and tossing its head up. That’s a worry! It’s easy to fall out of love! And salivating and half-lolling its tongue. But that’s OK. It starts raining on my book. It’s too soggy to write! That’s a worry. It always means no bet, but it would be un-Australian not to have a go at the Caulfield Cup. So I jump off The Cliff and jump onto the favourite, Kings Will Dream. The horse stumbles at the start and loses all chance. The winner, Best Solution, was too good. Duretto ran on well. I know I shouldn’t bet with a soggy racebook!



Caulfield Guineas

October 13th, 2018

Do you do cryptic crosswords? Ever attempt DA? Here’s a clue. 13 Across. “Young white knight, with an interesting surname, I hear”.

First up for my season are the two-year-olds, and I’m much tempted by the omen bet, Utzon, the much publicised albino. There’s a heap of people around her stall with raised iPhones. The filly seems reasonably relaxed with the two strappers but by the time she gets into the yard she starts to get her head up and fidgety. Favourite, at $1.60 the place? Overbet, as many striking horses are, and probably a lay. But I’m much taken by the relaxed Biscara. In the running Biscara dived for a run that wasn’t really there, got bumped sideways, but managed to recover and run on strongly for second at $2.80. Should have won, said the watcher, but happy with $2.80 first up in the new season. The white knight, Utzon, was a victim of the interference too, but couldn’t recover.

And that’s it. I didn’t have another bet all day as I got my eye in. I saw two standouts, Sunlight and The Autumn Sun, and spent a lot of time out the back eyeing the Cup horses. I fell in love with two horses – Thecliffsofmoher (been there!) and Yucatan. Both horses were standing forward in their stall and not cringing in the back corner. Thecliffsofmoher was nuzzling the strapper and trying to eat his lunch! The horse ran on very well for fourth despite getting very hot in the yard. Yucatan just looked imperious, and that’s how he won! Bring on the Cups!



Caufield Raceday

May 12th, 2018

This is the way the season ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. Slow 6, no show. Hopefully I’ll be back in the spring for the Caulfield Guineas.



Flemington Living Legends Raceday

May 5th, 2018

My penultimate raceday for the season. And there is some good news from Flemington for horsewatchers. The mounting yard has been extended by 10 metres which will be an enormous improvement for the spring. Twenty four horses didn’t fit in a single parade line and so they were broken up into an inner and outer circle for the Cup. It made life extremely difficult for watchers. I took a snap of my new improved viewing spot!

Not much to report. The best horse I saw all day was Land Of Plenty who won with ease but was way too short at $1.20. In the same race Pilote D’Essai was bucking furiously down the back but then after spending a lot of energy turned into a head down horse! But his race was run and the horse finished fifth. Another stat for four feet on the ground! And Our Gladiator was a bucking bronco before the fifth race and faded to finish near the tail. So that’s two stats! In the end I didn’t have a bet all day, mainly because I didn’t see the horse I was looking for, but possibly because I sense a lack of motivation creeping in with my season winding down.



Caulfield Thoroughbred Cup Day

April 28th, 2018

Large fields make it hard to see them all and William Thomas was probably the best horse I saw all day although too short at $1.40. It won like a good thing. In the two-year-old I liked Fighting Harada, who looked keen and ready to go, salivating and chewing on the bit, head in to the strapper. The horse had the gun barrier, the number one slot, and just had to jump and run and win. Fighting Harada was slow to begin. The boxer I remember wasn’t a slow beginner, he came out punching! What’s wrong with that jockey? Didn’t he know that he had to boot it up out of the gate? And then the horse was booted up at the 800, when it was all too late, and had to be checked off heels! Fighting Harada made a last gasp surge at the post and I was convinced it had grabbed third but in fact had missed by a head. Very disappointing! I was spitting chips. That horse was ready to win! I should have ridden it myself!

In the eighth race I fined it down to two horses, Notio and Eclair Calling. Notio was the classic horsewatcher’s horse, totally relaxed, fit, lobbing around the yard with its head down. Eclair Calling by contrast was a horse that held its head high but in towards the strapper. The horse wasn’t changing gait and wasn’t unsettled. Imperious, dominant, I thought. As a bonus it was trained by Phillip Stokes who doesn’t bring his horses over from Adelaide for fun. And what’s more I noted in my race book that it was a dual acceptor but scratched in Adelaide. Eclair Calling was $2.60 and Notio $1.80. An easy decision in the end. Go for the odds. They finished second and third so that helped to ease my earlier disappointment! One out of two. A good day. Getting cold though.


1 comment

Caulfield Owners and Breeders Raceday

April 21st, 2018

Frustration! I fired up Betfair to lay Widgee Turf in the second and I think I must have accidentally pressed the back arrow, which is a definite no-no on Betfair, and the screen froze. Well, I’ve been in this situation before and the key is simply not to panic. So calmly and methodically I powered the phone off and then displaying a remarkable cool resolve I managed to remember my pin and after a long period of looking at a black screen with a white Apple the phone jumped into life again. But of course by then it was too late!

A race or two later I was all set to have a back bet and I fired up the TAB app. But I didn’t login. I was all set to submit the bet when it refused my fingerprint and said my account was locked. Maybe it was something to do with previously powering the phone off? Anyway, you can simply unlock your account by entering your date of birth and mother’s maiden name. Well, how easy is that? Impossible, for me, it seems. After two attempts I gave up. I have to ring Customer Service for more information. So I didn’t have a bet all day. Keen Array, relaxed and head down, looked pretty good powering home for a place at $2.30, but I watched it go around.

I rang Rita at Customer Service when I got home and she fixed me up. It seems that all my pins and passwords were out of date since moving house some four years ago. I’ve double-checked my mother’s maiden name and my fingerprint and neither seems to have changed. But I think I need one of those new iPhones that you unlock just by looking at it! Facial recognition, that’ll be the go!


1 comment

Caulfield Race Day

April 14th, 2018

My betting opportunities seem to have been limited lately. I suppose it is a self-imposed exile. After all, I don’t do nights at Money Valley, and Flemington is a nightmare with the building site for the new members stand. And I refuse to do midweeks at Sandown until the level crossings are fixed up and the replacement buses are replaced with trains. That just leaves Caulfield. So I was quite keen to get there early in time for the two-year-olds, but the weather forecast was for Armageddon. The front was not expected to pass through until early afternoon so I was hopeful the babies could get a dry run.

A pleasant surprise awaited me on arrival. The tote screens have been updated and now display both fixed and tote odds for the win and place. That’s a huge plus for me as I can now compare them easily without constantly refreshing my iPhone and then decide if I’ll do a cash bet on the tote or a fixed on my phone. There is still something about collecting cash that stirs the heart much more than a change in your account balance!

It was still cold and dry when the babies appeared in the yard but the wind was gale force and threatened to blow them off the track. A quick scan of the field revealed a lot of horses resisting the jockey and only one horse that seemed impervious to the weather, Ocean Knight. Alert, interested and calm. I positioned myself next to a new screen and watched the fixed place odds blow from $1.85 to $2.55. Hasn’t anyone seen this horse? Ocean Knight jumped away slowly near the rear but blitzed them in the straight to win going away. Could be a good horse.

The change of season was sudden and dramatic when it finally arrived. The horses were in the yard for the second but were suddenly obliterated by wind, horizontal rain and hail. The race was delayed as they were sent back to the stalls and the track downgraded to Soft 5. It was still too wet to venture out for the third, but from a distance Savacool looked the goods. But no bet. The track was downgraded further to a Soft 6. That was my cue and I gave up the battle with the weather. Happy with one out of one. Home in time to see that good horse win in Sydney.

Hard to believe it was a balmy 26 degrees on Friday. The best comment I heard all week was that it won’t be 26 again until September!


1 comment