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Caulfield Thoroughbred Club Cup Day

March 23rd, 2013

There’s hardly anyone here. They’ve all slept in after a big night out at the Valley. Everyone seems to want to know: “Did you go?”. You’d have to be kidding. I’m crooked enough on the Cox Plate being run at 5.30 pm, let alone sending Black Caviar around at 9.55 pm. At least I was safely tucked up in bed watching the footy while everyone was still stuck in the car park.


A quiet day, mainly spent trying to photograph one-eyed blinkers for Volume 2, with only mixed success. But four bets, for three placed horses (San Diego, Under The Eiffel, High Esteem) and a loser (Word Gets Around).




March 20th, 2013

More signs that racing is in decay. Mid-week at Sandown is free, but things are not improving.

Seagulls over Sandown

Seagulls over Sandown

The racebook kiosk will be closed next week and you’ll need to buy your book at the bar. And the cloak room was closed. And there were probably 2000 seagulls there and barely 200 punters! What do you expect for nothing? 



Flemington Super Saturday

March 9th, 2013

Horse racing is surely in decline. Do you remember when the Labour Day long weekend was a double header, with the Newmarket on Saturday and the Australian Cup on the Monday? Now it’s all compressed into one day, so-called Super Saturday, with Monday being relegated to a mid-week meeting at the Valley. And the VRC knows where its bread is buttered. The whole car park has been turned over to sound stages for a rock concert on Sunday. I get a glimpse of the new world when I’m handed a warning card as I go through the turnstiles:

“All vehicles parked within the Flemington Members Unreserved Car Park must be cleared by 7.30 pm. Any vehicles remaining after 7.30 pm will be towed to VRC Head Office at owner’s risk”.

Not a welcoming welcome to the best day of racing in the autumn! What if I’m still celebrating at 7.30 pm? Members love moaning about what’s happening to racing today. So, moan, moan.


The tea leaves aren’t looking good and so it proves. In the first both the favourites Montsegur and Bulbula have excrement on their hindlegs, which is a very bad look And the sway-backed Fine Diamond looks to be a very uncomfortable ride, not that the jock will be doing much sitting down. I cross them all out except for Diva Dee. A standout. I double my bet. Bulbula and Montsegur settle down to fight it out with Diva Dee steaming home when it’s all over for third. Such a shame they don’t pay out for third with seven horses.

I claw some back on the Cup favourite Puissance De Lune, but the $1.70 place divvy is a bit skinny, especially when my minimum is now $1.80. But I give more back on Alzora, fourth in the fifth, and Mourayan, nowhere in the Australian Cup. Centennial Park, the winner of the last, improved my mood, but it was still a losing day. My first in yonks.

And I’m given another warning as I leave the car park. No booze and no wheelchairs. Cripes! What’s happening to racing today.



Flemington Australian Guineas Day

March 2nd, 2013

A beautiful autumn day in Melbourne, but there is no one here. It was promoted as a day out for the kids, which must explain why the adults have gone missing. I’m not complaining. There’s room to move. There must have been at least an extra 20,000 people here for the Lightning, just a couple of weeks ago. And there is still a good horse to look at , despite the surprise scratching of All Too Hard. Look at that backside! And is that a bit of rib showing in the barrel? But I guess the muscle definition is a little bit lacking. But what a head! It’s all in that fabulous head! Apache Cat. Now eleven years old. Still the most striking horse going around.

Not much action. Even the hard-working clerks found time for a chin wag.