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Money Valley

December 23rd, 2017

I’m a member of the Bart Cummings school of racing thought. I like my horses to be relaxed. A sure sign that a horse is unsettled and not relaxed is if it is “on the toe”. The problem is that there are two ways a horse can be “on the toe”. The most common is if a horse is changing its gait from a jog or trot back to a walk. If the horse has its head up as well then it is clearly not settled. I cross these horses out straight away. The other way a horse can be “on the toe” is if it is prancing. These horses keep their head under control and usually have a pronounced arched neck. Gait problems get a good discussion in the first book and prancing horses only get a one line comment in Watching More where I suggest it is well worth while getting down on hands and knees and crawling across broken glass in order to back them! And so I followed my own advice and backed Ormito in the stayers race. The horse ran on well for second at $2.60.

I also like horses to be accepting of the bit. In the seventh Teleplay was lobbing around with its head down munching noisily on the bit. I regard grinding on the bit as a negative although my stats don’t totally support this view. But chewing on the bit is a strong positive. The horse was blocked for a run when it looked all over a winner but still managed a strong third at $2.40.

So that’s two out of two. Long may the streak continue! All the best to all horsewatchers for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



Caulfield Christmas Race Day

December 16th, 2017

I’m feeling a bit rusty with no racing for three weeks so I plan to get there nice and early for the two-year-olds at 1 pm. I’ll need plenty of time to look at the babies. But at Flinders Street station I’m confronted by scenes of chaos. There is a fault at Caulfield station and all trains to Caulfield are cancelled! A harassed official explains that my only options are the number 3 tram, if I could get on one, or a train to Darling, and then the dreaded replacement bus. A tram to Caulfield? I reckon it would take a week to get there, so I opt for the train. Darling? Who has ever heard of Darling? It turns out to be on the Glen Waverley line and the train stops all stations to Darling where a thousand stressed punters hop off to cram into a single bus to Caulfield! Ah, the bane of my life, the replacement bus! I arrive just as the babies jump at 1 pm.

It always takes a while to recover from a slow and difficult start and I don’t open my wallet until the sixth when I was quite taken with a relaxed Bint El Bedu. I was quite happy that the mare was sweating up since it was over 23 degrees and I was sweating up too. The horse rocketed home from the back to grab third. It was $2.50 with 30 seconds to go but was crunched into $2.10. Don’t you hate that?

In the seventh I took a set against Urban Ruler. I don’t like bar plates so I laid the horse at $2.20, despite some bookies offering $1.85 for the place. Phar Lap wore bar plates in that race in Mexico (see Watching More page 70) so they can’t be all bad, but then again Phar Lap was a freak and in a different class to Urban Ruler. Home early on the train. Thank goodness they fixed that fault. Two out of two. I think I’m on a streak.