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Anzac weekend

April 26th, 2014

A double header. Flemington on Friday and out to Sandown for the Saturday. Plenty of time to look at the two-year-olds as for once it’s the second race on the programme. Lloyd’s half a million dollar colt Divan looks a picture, with the usual two strappers and a lovely arched neck. The favourite, Moroney’s Merion, looks terrific too, but at the last minute does a dump with the jockey up. I’m left with a standout! The gates bang open and Divan blunders out, nearly tossing the rider and losing a good couple of lengths. Oh, no! There goes my bet! But the horse pulls out wide and steams home from the turn with Merion winning easily and Greg Miles calling four horses lined up for second and third, but no Divan. Oh, well. Methinks, Divan was nearly there. The run of the race. Greg calls the four horses in contention in the place photo again and still doesn’t mention Divan. I look at the replay. He could be nearly there, maybe fourth! It takes a good five minutes to sort out the photo – and then a dead heat for third. I check the replay again to reassure myself. Yes! Only half the $3.60 place dividend, but how good is that. I’m up and away. This is going to be a good weekend. And that’s how it goes. Three out of three, with Gotta Take Care in the stayers and El Mina in the last. Gotta Take Care is nine years old, but as we were reminded during the day, age shall not weary them!

On to Sandown and the weather turns nasty but the streak continues. Hotel Sierra, hanging on for third, a fourth with Mr Backchat, which blotted the copybook, then home on a roll with Scatcat and Specter. Six out of seven collects!

Long may it continue.




Caulfield Easter Saturday

April 19th, 2014

It is always hard to recover from a poor start. And so it proved. The Age formguide had the first race for two-year-olds going off at 1.25 pm so I timed my arrival for 12.30 to give me a good hour to have a decent look at them out the back. On entering the course I was stunned by the crowd. Thousands of children fossicking for Easter eggs. How can they be here so early? And is that Greg Miles voice I hear announcing tote dividends? No, it must be Sydney or somewhere else. I pick up my racebook and, oh no, the first race has been run and won at 12.25. The paper has published the wrong race times!

There is a brief shower and the track is downgraded to a Dead 5. And two races later, without any rain and without even opening my wallet, the track is further downgraded to Slow 6. I’ve just got here and it’s time to pack up shop without a bet. Everyone is moaning that they have been watering the track. I’m just moaning about blooming Fairfax. I might have to start getting the Herald Sun.




Flemington Community Raceday

April 5th, 2014

The boys in the band were there again, this time with their ponies. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that their chances of winning have gone downhill. A companion pony used to be the most positive of variables. But now that everyone brings a pony to the races it has turned negative. There must be a lot of poor quality horses that like to travel to the track with a mate, or maybe a lot of trainers have read my book.

I’ve been trying for some time to get a decent photo of a nasal strip. Fab Fevola had a good one, but I really need a brown or black horse with a white strip. White strips get lost in the blaze on chestnuts and grey or black ones are hard to pick out on bays. I’ve now just passed the magic threshold of 100 observations of nasal strips and at last can form an opinion on whether they are positive or negative. There were nine winners, for a behavioural handicap of zero. Neither positive or negative. Benign! Fab Fevola held on well for second at $8.50 the place.

I started out well in the first by laying Soosa Rama. The horse was rocketing around the yard at a fast gait, was shitty behind, sweating up, and tossing its head up in a frenetic manner. I laid it for the place at $1.70. It struggled home in tenth place. But I then fell in a heap and backed two losers, The Bowler and Hvasstan. My first losing day for some time. Is that the cold dark chill of winter I feel coming on?