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Grand Final Day

September 25th, 2010

Three race meetings this weekend. I’m a no show at The Valley on Friday night. Night meetings aren’t friendly for horse watchers. There is only half an hour between races, which doesn’t allow much time to get a decent look at the horses. Sandown on Saturday, but I’m off to the footy. One in 100,016. I’m glad Essendon wasn’t playing or I would have had a heart attack in the last quarter. Caulfield on Sunday, but Sunday is my day of rest and reflection.

What do we do now?

Heard on the train on the way home from the footy: “I’m going to go home and pass out on the couch”.


Underwood Stakes Day

September 19th, 2010

Not much punting action today. There’s a cold south-westerly blowing and my anorak stays on all day. It’s hard to get the blood fired up when the weather refuses to warm up. But you know spring is coming when the crowds start picking up. It’s difficult to get near You Know Who’s stall. I wonder whether Bart has even got to see this horse this year, what with his asthma, pneumonia, and now his broken hip. But you’d have to say the horse looks pretty fit. I’m even prepared to forgive him the cross-over nose band, but of course no bet at $1.20 the place. And I’ve been told by a lady fan that So You Think is pretty! I think it must be his forelock – I just wish he’d flick it out of his eyes. A good run considering that he was fractious in the barrier and pulling mid-race. I noted the farrier in his stall after the race.

One small bet only on Sistine Angel, who ducks up on the inside for a place at $3.30. I was so busy backing it that I missed a laying opportunity on the favourite, Ringa Ringa Rosie, who was fractious and sweating up, despite the cold.

My third run back from a spell. I didn’t feel as tired on the train home.


Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day

September 11th, 2010

“Oh, the springtime it brings on the shearing,
And it’s then that you’ll see them in droves,
To the racetrack they are all a steering,
A seeking a bob off the coves.”

Or so it goes – the punter’s bastardised version of the traditional Australian folk song. The crowds are picking up, and the tracks are drying out. The Valley was posted a Slow 7, but it was obvious after the first two races that it was a genuine Dead. Bettable. And a lot of horses have been shorn or have lost their winter coats. There are still a few shaggy ones, and quite a few clipped. I don’t pay much attention to coat condition, but Whobe looked pretty good, nice and shiny with a good poverty line. And my favourite horse Zipping and Rundle have both been one third clipped with hairy backs and legs and clean unders. Can horses have Brazilians?

I had my first look at the boom horse Hay List. He’s built like a tank with a backside as big as a barn door. He was a clear standout in the race and was showing $1.50 the place with 2 minutes to go. But I knew it would be crunched with the bookies offering $1.20 and Betfair $1.36. So no bet on a dead-set winner. But I did have one bet for the day, as I ease myself into spring. Sussuro in the third came from last to first at $4.10 the place. So I’m sitting on a 100% strike rate for the new season.

I’ve celebrated by having a haircut.


Makybe Diva Stakes Day

September 4th, 2010

Melbourne has been miserable and cold and wet. But at last, spring has sprung. All the good horses and all the desperate punters have been flooded out of their spelling paddocks. Flemington is rated an optimistic Slow 7 but is clearly Heavy and is eventually downgraded to a Heavy 8. A no bet day if ever there was one and normally I wouldn’t even bother to attend. But I’m keen to have a hit out and get my eye in, especially on the Cups horses. And I suppose it would be fair to say that I am carrying a bit of extra condition.

Team Williams has Linton, Alandi, C’est La Guerre and Mourayan running. I don’t make it on course until the fifth race so I miss seeing Linton. The stocky Alandi looks very bulky and the lighter framed Mourayan only slightly better. Shocking looks good, but not fined down.

I like looking for fitness from the rear, in the region of the croup and tail head, with the horse walking away. I don’t place a lot of emphasis on fitness because horses can still win half-fit, as Shocking duly demonstrated. But by way of comparison cast an eye over Harris Tweed. A lightly framed horse, but as Roy The Boy would say, carrying no surplus.

After only half a card and five races I pull up a bit short and breathless. Like Alandi, I’m going to need a few more runs yet.