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!

Flemington Christmas Raceday

December 17th, 2011

Now that I’ve got my eye in I’m seeing Kineton nosebands everywhere. Two more today at Flemington on Wind Shear in the fourth and Creed in the fifth. They are not listed in the race book gear information as the list only notes changes to approved gear. Wind Shear finished seventh and Creed a reasonable fourth. I’ll have to start my own list.

I had a major psychological breakthrough today. I went to Flemington early for the two-year-olds with the expectation of backing Catalonia. I had an image in my mind of the wonderfully relaxed horse that I saw at Caulfield two weeks ago and the healthy $2.70 place divvy. But the horse was unhappy in its stall, nibbling on the tie-up, pawing, and shaking its head. In the yard the horse was still unhappy with the strapper leaning into it with her shoulder and the horse twisting its neck and showing me some teeth. I much prefer my favourites to be more settled and so I decided to oppose the horse for the place on Betfair. Catalonia duly laboured into fifth place. I didn’t win much money but felt immensely pleased that I could change my brain from a back to a lay on the same horse so easily.

Not much else to report. A third with What A Beauty at even money for the place and a loser with Khas Kura. At least my money had a run around.


Flemington Western Health Community Raceday

December 10th, 2011

The bottomweight in the last race, Applaud The Dame, is listed in the race book gear information as wearing a Kyneton noseband. I haven’t really paid much attention to this uncommon piece of gear, which is quite surprising considering my aversion to the common nose roll and the cross-over noseband. I attempted a few photographs, which is quite tricky with a moving horse and it’s hard to see how it actually works. A quick check of Wikipedia when I get home is quite helpful: “Named for the English town of Kineton, and originating in horse racing  for animals uncontrollable at high speeds, this noseband is often cited as being rather severe. It transfers bit pressure from the rider’s hand to the nose. The Kineton has metal half-rings that pass under the bit, and a leather strap that sits below the bit and over the nose (which it does not encircle) about where a drop noseband would cross. There is no strap to keep the horse’s mouth closed.”

If you look carefully at the second photograph (click on it and then click again to enlarge it!) you will be able to see the half rings. There’s a reasonable picture of one in the Register of Nationally Approved Gear.  The key to quickly distinguishing a Kineton band from a regular noseband seems to be the buckles on each side for adjusting the length of the band.

 There are probably a couple of comments to make. First, we seem to have Ozzified the name in honour of our local Victorian town of Kyneton. The second is that it is mainly used on horses that pull, so that you would have to think that the chances of Applaud The Dame at 300/1 were rather remote.

 All this fussing around meant that I missed a betting opportunity on my favourite class of race, the mares. This was doubly disappointing since I was cashed up for the last with collects on Lonhreign, Token of Honour and At The Heads.

Still, three out of three. Not too bad a day.


Caulfield Cystic Fibrosis Victoria Summer Race Day

December 3rd, 2011

Last year I was left out in the cold, but this year I have the invite to the Members’ Christmas Cocktail Party. And so with a belly full of party pies and wine I’m pumped and primed – ready to look at the two-year-olds. The favourite Starchine has one white sock. Isn’t there a ditty: “If a horse has one white sock, buy him, two white socks try him, three white socks, be shy of him, four white socks …..?” Leg markings probably have little impact on performance, but the punters obviously like him, even though he’s one of three or four colts who are behaving outrageously in the mounting yard. The filly Catalonia is the only cool customer. Two of the fractious colts, Ferment and Henia grab first and third, but sandwiched in between is the relaxed Catalonia at $2.70 for the place.


In the second Her Diamond Rock is a standout and wins like a good thing. I had a rare bet with the books at $3.50 for the place when the tote was showing $2.80, although the final dividend eased out to $3.30. Two out of two and on fire! In the fourth I had Mayneda Strategy on top but squibbed the bet as I was still smarting from when I backed her last start at Sandown in a mid-weeker and she came fifth of five runners. I did wince when she returned $2.80 for third. In the mares I liked Inablitz who charged home from last to miss by a nostril and then bled from both of them. $1.80 for the place.

And the get out stakes had some of my favourites in it. Gandalf’s horse, Shadowfax, the American Cannonball, and my pet miscreant, Jungle Ruler. The Ruler is a no show, and Cannonball has changed trainers after a holiday in Sydney and is now with Pat Carey. Maybe that will settle him down a bit.  Shadowfax looks magnificent, but is too short at $1.50 the place, so I just watch. Why are the horses with good names overbet? Cannonball takes off like a shot out of a gun but explodes on the turn and finishes tailed off 12 lengths last. Gandalf’s horse, all class, works home stylishly, but just fails to peg back the winner Alpha Proxima.

Still, three out of three. Not a bad day.