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Flemington Christmas Raceday

December 22nd, 2012

The boys in the band were there. I’ve always said that I will never tire of hearing White Christmas, but I must say that today my patience was sorely tested. I got there early for the two-year-old but in the end didn’t bet on it. There was a lot of so-called “coltish” behaviour going on. Horses were neighing in their stalls, and calling out in the parade ring and mounting yard. I counted at least two fifth legs, including Midnight Rule. Even the impressive winner Safeguard was sexually aroused. I was looking for the relaxed colt but couldn’t find him, so I left the race alone.

I kept my powder dry until the fourth when I was nearly tempted by a relaxed Riverina’s Girl but eventually gave her the flick. The Soldier led them up and seems to have recovered from his near death experience. A nasty fall after the post and we all froze. In the fifth I was preoccupied with Battles End and his hoof pads which were very hard to photograph for my collection. I passed on my favourite horse Rockpecker in the sixth because he was kicking out in his stall. Looked OK in the yard though. Keep Cool was the omen bet as well as best in the yard in the seventh and I came home with a wet sail on Gig in the last. I quite like summer racing.

All the best for a Cool Yule. I’ll be back, hopefully, in the New Year.



Flemington Western Health Community Raceday

December 15th, 2012

A quiet day at the track, but I managed to score an excellent picture of the tail chain on Alcohol. You may remember that this rarely seen piece of gear is used on horses that suck in air through their backside. I asked the trainer Richard Jolly about it and he said that they only recently noticed a problem after the horse had raced. It was blowing out air through its, excuse me, bum. The horse doesn’t do it when it is just lobbing around at home. He said it is much more common in trotters. The gear itself is not so fancy. Just a bit of chain from Bunnings and some electricians tape. The chain tickles the anus so that the horse keeps it shut. Alcohol must have relished being tickled up behind as it powered away to win!



Not such a good day on the punt. Two bets for two losers, Euryale and Sheahan, who both finished fourth. I was in need of a stiff drink myself.



Caulfield Christmas Race Day

December 8th, 2012

A hot day with a forecast top of 37 degrees and a gale force northerly wind. There’s hardly a horse to be seen out the back as they are allowed to arrive on course much later on these hot days. And the sprinklers are running on top of the stalls, which is a good idea. And the horses spend more time in the parade ring, which is shaded, and then go up to the mounting yard at the last minute. Front running horses were clearly disadvantaged battling into the hot wind and in every race they knocked up to be run over by the swoopers. In the sixth race The Soldier led to the turn but gave up the battle to finish tailed off 50 lengths last. The stewards report noted that “The Soldier compounded in the straight. A subsequent veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be suffering from extreme heat stress.”

The Soldier

Out the back in the parade ring The Soldier had a real fight on his hands. He was on his knees being hosed and then would get cranky and rear and buck and flail around helplessly. He finally collapsed onto the ground and a bucket brigade was organised to cool him down. He eventually made a full recovery. The stewards didn’t like me taking photographs, but it is a fact of life with racing in the heat that horses are going to get stressed. I suppose they are worried that it will cast racing in a poor light.

I checked my racebook notes and found that I had marked the horse as sweating up and quivering in the mounting yard before the race, something that I would rarely ever see. My feeling is the horse may have had an elevated temperature before it even raced.



Caulfield Summer Race Day

December 1st, 2012

The first day of summer and it’s hot and sticky. The flies are swarming about and are irritating the horses and watchers alike. A swishing tail is normally a good sign of irritation but when nearly every horse is swishing and flicking it doesn’t help much in picking out the losers. Lots of head shaking and snorting too. Nothing worse than a fly up your nose. Can you count five flies?

Not much betting action because I was irritated too. When I did find a good horse it was generally too short for a place bet. But of course the real reason was that my head was fuzzy and my belly was full of wine and party pies from the members’ Christmas cocktail party.