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The Zipping Classic

November 12th, 2016

I love this meeting. The last hurrah for the Spring Carnival. A second chance for the Cup horses. The weather has usually turned, the crowds have diminished, and there is plenty of room to move around and look at the horses. I’m keen to get there for the two-year-olds, but today I’m staying at home and for the first time will have to watch it on the telly on There is perhaps a five minute segment called the “Mounting Yard” where you get a brief glimpse of the horses parading with comments from the form experts and Lizzie Jelfs, the mounting yard expert. She does a very good job, considering the conditions under which she has to work. She can’t get out to the stalls or parade ring. And from the centre of the yard it must be hard to see what the horse is doing with the bit and what the strapper is doing when you are standing on the off side. Lizzie concentrates on three main variables – coat condition, fitness, and to a lesser extent arousal – with comments such as “coat nice and healthy”, “coat gleaming”, “extremely fit”, “muscle tone excellent”, “walks out nice and cleanly”, “a good walker”, and “spring in the step”. Horses on their toes are sometimes regarded as being ready to run and other times as being too aroused. I found it all a bit distracting and in the end did a Lloyd Williams and turned the sound off.

But back to the two-year-olds. I marked Arctic Angel a standout after a brief five second view. I fired up the iPhone and saw $2.37 fixed or $2.50 on the tote. I took the tote and soon realised that everyone watching had seen the same thing as me and had backed it in to $2.00. It won in a breeze. I saw a couple of other nice horses during the afternoon, including Qewy, and Morton’s Fork, but they were too short and so I put my cue in the rack. And too often the horse you want to see is missed altogether or is just a backside heading off to the barrier. But at least I have demonstrated to myself that it is possible to get a feeling for how a horse feels even if you are not at the track.

The bottom line: you can’t beat being there and seeing and hearing up close!



Stakes Day

November 5th, 2016

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many 15-year-old girls in the same place at the same time. They are posturing around in groups of three, four or five. It must be schoolies week! Haven’t they got any homework? Shouldn’t they be studying for their exams? It’s family day, but where are their parents?

I thought Loyalty Man looked the goods in the fifth, but the jock should be sent to the sin bin for the rest of the spring, and Vadamos looked a good thing in his ear muffs in the Mackinnon, but he pulled too hard in the run. And Spieth looked stunning in the yard, no faults, and was just nosed out in the Darley Classic, but still returned a respectable $3.00 for the place. A disappointing losing day after the highs of Oaks day.

And now that the carnival is over –  the best tatt prize goes to ……




The Oaks

November 3rd, 2016

I started off slowly enjoying the perfect weather and the ambience down the back and let the first two pass by, and then brushed off the cobwebs with Onerous in the third at $2.40. Mihany was a standout in the fourth at $2.80, and I couldn’t resist Rockstar Rebel at $2.00 in the fifth. I’m starting to think I’m on a roll when Federal flops in at $1.70 (what happened to that $1.90?) in the sixth, and then with Redzel in the seventh at $1.80 suddenly I’ve equalled my PB. Five out of five! It’s all down to the Oaks! Can I score an all time PB! I couldn’t fault the fave at $1.60, but I didn’t like the price so I went for second best with Sebring Dream. All good things come to an end! Lasqueti Spirit. A 120/1 winner! You couldn’t have it after went beserk in the mounting yard! But what a day for horsewatchers. One out of the box!



The Melbourne Cup

November 1st, 2016

I spent most of the time down the back checking out Cup horses in the stalls. Almandin was asleep, Heartbreak City and Hartnell interested, Big Orange was British to the bootstraps, Almoonqith was yawning, and Wicklow Brave had the ear plugs. My final six for the trifecta were Big Orange, Hartnell, Wicklow Brave, Almoonqith, Heartbreak City and Oceanographer. When I got to the yard I noticed Heartbreak City with its head up so I crossed it out and put Almandin in instead. Oh well!

Wicklow Brave was slaughtered by Frankie, who probably has the wrong temperament for a Melbourne Cup, Oceanographer didn’t back up, and no excuses for the others.