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Moonee Valley

March 29th, 2014

Scored a good video of the rarely seen trembling or quivering by Arch Fire. Not a good sign! The horse also sweated up badly before the race so it could have been feeling either hot or anxious. Despite all this the horse battled on well for a good second to the odds on favourite Signoff.



I’ve added the video to my Youtube library which is starting to look quite respectable! Only one standout for the day, Le Roi, which won as it liked.





March 22nd, 2014

I managed the long trek out to Sandown twice this week! Wednesday at Sandown, as has been previously noted, is racing at its most basic. Free entry, racebooks at the bar, no dress code, no cloak room. The compensation for members who pay their way used to be a cup of tea and a piece of cake. But that’s been scrapped now too. I miss my cup of tea. In fact the Members area has been scrapped altogether and it’s now just one big bun fight. But I got a nice photo of a bubble cheeker or “pricker” for the book courtesy of Simon and Susie Morrish.

The Members area was reinstated for Saturday, but I was a fish out of water in jacket and tie. At least someone is maintaining the standards! The most interesting thing I saw was a combination of winkers and earmuffs on Jacinta. The horse looked like it had the mumps.

Not much action with a late 1.45 pm start and an early finish for home duties. A close fourth – Spending, and then saved by an even closer third – Rich River.




Moonee Valley Labour Day

March 10th, 2014

There was a time when the public holiday on Labour Day was a big deal and the Australian Cup at Flemington was the race of the autumn. Remember Dandy Andy? These days the races at the valley are low class mid-weekers with maidens and restricted 0-64 handicaps. But I went along because I’m grateful that it’s still daylight.

There was one minute’s silence for Roy The Boy, suddenly dead at seventy-five. He was a top jock. I never really understood why he was called the Professor. But I used to love his mounting yard comments about horses looking “hard and fit”, “tightened up”, and “carrying not an ounce of surplus”, with not a word about behaviour or gear. Roy used to have a little old man who’d dash out at the last minute with the word from the ring. I suspect his comments were heavily influenced by that information.

I managed a couple of photographs. Nearly got a good yawn photo. And a fair shot of a rare brow band and an even rarer tail chain. Three bets over the weekend for three collects. I’m doing OK.




Flemington Australian Guineas

March 2nd, 2014

I crossed out the three most fancied horses. Shamus Award looked fit, but was very unsettled, tossing his head about and resisting with the jockey up. Eurozone had the cross-over noseband, head up, and the strapper was struggling to contain the horse with two hands, and Hucklebuck looked a bit sour with his ears laid back. I settled on The Quarterback, Alpha Beat and Criterion as the best, and ended up backing Criterion for the place. The Cox Plate winner led all the way, but Criterion charged home to grab second at $2.90. I was a bit spewy as I backed it in the last few seconds when it was showing $3.30 on the tote, so there must have been a bit of late money to shift it that much in a decent-sized tote pool.

Since I have been paying more attention to the horse’s feet I’ve also started to keep track of horses that cast a plate during the running. It looks like a fairly negative variable, but I’m not sure what use it is to the punter when the race has been run and won. An excuse I suppose. It might explain Hucklebuck’s poor run. And in Mrs Mac’s Beef Pie Sprint Spartini rocked up with a bar plate on his near fore that had not been notified to the stewards. The trainer, DK Weir, was slapped over the wrist with a feather and only copped a reprimand rather than a fine. It pays to be Victoria’s leading trainer.