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Caulfield Pink Ribbon Cup Day

March 26th, 2011

Oh, the pleasure and the pain. I’m there nice and early for Race 1 – the two-year-olds. Horse watchers have a serious advantage in these races with little or no exposed form. I have taken an exception to the favourite, Rockshaft, who is bouncing around the mounting yard in a state of high arousal and is sweating copiously behind, despite the cold. The strapper is struggling to contain the horse. I’m keen to lay this horse as he’s showing $1.20 for the place on the tote. I’m also keen to back the Sheik’s horse Kuhreihen, who is lobbing around the yard in a very relaxed state of mind. It looks like a back and lay race. I back Kuhreihen on the tote and with one minute to the jump I fire up the iPhone for the lay, and oh no, not again, that dreaded message from iBetmate: “This product requires a funded account”. How can that be? There must be some mistake? I try it again but of course the horses jump. Kuhreihen powers home for second at $2.80 for the place and the favourite struggles into fourth. Oh, the pleasure and the pain.

Race 2. Time to take stock. A deep breath. My account can’t have been hacked and cleaned out, can it? I have faced this problem before. If there is no activity on your Betfair account for three months iBetmate won’t work. But the app seems to only recognise your UK wallet and not the Australian wallet as your Betfair account. I remember that last time this was fixed by transferring one dollar from the Aussie wallet into the UK wallet. So I login in to the main Betfair site to check my account and transfer the one dollar. Oh, no! How can that be? A balance of $0.00? I must have been hacked! So much for laying horses today!

Race 3. It is deserted out the back. There’s only one desperate watching them in the parade ring. Everyone must be at the other races, the Grand Prix. And another possible lay, of course, with Frenetica far too frantic for my taste.  Frenetica finishes fourth.

Race 4 and Ariarni has the nose roll. It reminds me of last Wednesday out at Sandown when an out of control Follonica appeared with a nose roll, my favourite no-no. This horse had been restless in her stall, kicking out, resisting the strapper and jockey, and taken in hand by the clerk. I layed it at $1.52 for the place but the bet was not matched despite plenty of action at $1.53. Too greedy! The stewards noted that “Follonica jumped in the air as the start was effected” and questioned Craig Williams about his riding of the horse. Craig replied that the horse was always awkward and reluctant to race inside other horses, and furthermore, in his opinion, the horse resented the nose roll! And today I can’t even lay Ariarni! Marheta has the ear muffs, but they look like helicopter blades, or maybe the muff fitting department at Myers didn’t have the right size. But the Cat’s Pyjamas certainly looks the bee’s knees and duly salutes at $2.50 for the place.

In Race 5 Testa My Patience is a standout and is showing $1.80 on the books and $2.20 on the tote with one minute to go. I go for the tote and the good thing returns a disappointing $1.60 for the place. That is a serious crunch. The win price went from about $7.00 to $4.40 in the last 50 seconds. That’s pretty serious too. It really makes you wonder if someone is getting on after the jump.

In Races 6 and 7 I have the winning favourites on top, but too short to back for the place.

So, come the last, Race 8, the get out stakes, my eye is on fire and I’m sitting on three out of three. I like the longshot La Fanastique, at over $6.00 the place. What a let down. The horse is pulled up and finishes tailed off last by 45 lengths. How could I get it so wrong? And how I hate having a winning day and then going home on a loser.

Oh, the pleasure and the pain.

Postscript: Home to urgently check the Betfair account. Whew!  All still there and I transfer the one dollar. I still don’t understand why I couldn’t do that at the track. Fire up the iBetmate, and it is all systems go. I allow myself a brief lamentation – oh, the opportunities lost – all for the sake of one dollar.

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Thoroughbred Club Cup Day

March 19th, 2011

Where is everybody? I know summer is over, but it’s still too early to toss it in for winter. I suppose all the good horses and all the beautiful people have headed off to Sydney. The bookies ring has been cleared and the horse stalls are deserted. I don’t really know why. Autumn in Melbourne is the best time of year. The weather here is beautiful, mild and sunny, and Sydney can only offer rain and beaten favourites. At least there’s plenty of room to move around.

A quiet day with nothing remarkable to report. The most interesting thing I saw was the gear combination on the Hayes horse Our Makai. My pet aversion is the nose roll and on this horse it was coupled up with pacifiers. You’d have to wonder what the horse could actually see! Sensory deprivation! The stewards report noted that “Our Makai over-raced in the early stages”.

Four bets, which is quite a few for me. Three placed horses – Galbraith, Wind Shear and Seduced, and one loser, Broadcast. A pretty good day.

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Black Caviar Day

March 12th, 2011

It’s all Black Caviar. Even people who have no interest in racing are wondering if the mare will make it ten out of ten. Me, myself, personally, well I’m not too fussed. I can’t bet on the race as the $1.04 place divvy means that if I backed 25 winners and one loser at those odds I’d still be just square. Insane. But if the horse brings more people to the races then that’s a good thing, even if I don’t understand it. So I pin on my badge with bemused pride.
The mare is relaxed out the back, doing plenty of laps, and is unfazed by the infernal noise from the Top Gear show at the showgrounds next door. I’m told that the crowd there is even bigger than the crowd here at Flemington. The weather is tropical – hot and steamy – slightly different conditions from this day last year, if you recall. If not, enter Super Saturday into the Search box for a refresher!

The mare has them on toast and wins by three lengths, easing down on the line. Simply too good. A tick outside the track record. I pick up my free photo on the way home. I  think I’ll frame it. Or may be I could sell it on eBay?


Australian Guineas Day

March 5th, 2011

I have two parties today. The members’ cocktail party at 11 am and my aunt’s 90th birthday party at 3 pm. Somehow in between all this fun I have to fit in the Australian Guineas.

The cocktail party is most excellent with delicious egg and bacon rolls. And there is ample refreshment, except I’m off the grog at the moment, and it makes a grown man cry to see all that temptation lined up. I quit the party early to check out the two-year-olds instead.

Mourayan is walking around the parade ring and looks in good nick. I first saw this horse back in September when he had his first start here along with fellow import Alandi. Alandi didn’t fire a shot and was sent back home, but Mourayan has shown something. I keep him in mind. Of the two-year-olds I like Fortune Of War, and in a blanket finish the horse somehow manages to grab third.

There are only five runners in the second and I cross them all out except for Mourayan and the favourite Anudjawun. I love these small fields. The place dividend for second is often way over the odds. And Mourayan just manages to hold out the favourite for second and pays a remarkable $3.40. The next three races go to good looking favourites, Dubleanny, King Diamond and Aloha, and suddenly, it’s 3.30, and I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.

A battle through heavy traffic and I arrive in the nick of time for the speeches. There must be over a hundred people here. My absence hasn’t been noted, has it? 90! Now there’s a good age. And delicious scones, vanilla slice and lemon tea cake. My penance for being late is to stack up all the chairs in the church hall.

I’m told Shamrocker won the Guineas. And I’m told Rebel Soldier, the multi-million dollar import that I photographed last week has been gelded, after putting one of David Hayes’s lads in hospital. Hayes said that the horse was going to kill someone unless he acted. Watch out for that white eye!

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