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Caulfield Blue Diamond Stakes

February 24th, 2018

The Blue Diamond is always a lottery, but worth having a go at because the place dividends are so good. I saw them all in the parade ring with the mounting yard being too hard and three deep! Long Leaf had the winkers and twisted neck, Written By was gaping, dumping, shitty behind, and stallion chain, Run Naan was calling out and head up, Prairie Fire was swishing, Encryption a clean sheet, Plague Stone cross-over noseband, Grand Symphony two strappers, gaping, teeth and dumping, Enbihaar clean sheet, Kinky Boom nose roll, two strappers and stallion chain, Lady Horseowner gaping and twisted neck, Ennis Hill dumping, two strappers and grabbed by the clerk, Crossing The Abbey two hands, head up, ear muffs, and illegible comment, Qafila twisted neck, two strappers, Oohood head down, earmuffs, winkers two strappers, two hands, flared nostrils?, Aristocrastic Miss two strappers, changing gait, resisting the jockey, More Than Exceed two hands.

Although dumping and shitty behind are positive variables I take a negative attitude to them in two-year-old races so I ruled out the favourite. My selection was Encryption ahead of Enbihaar. Both clean sheets. I pulled the wrong rein. There was a moment there when it looked like Encryption would surge into third but he died on his run. Enbihaar, at $7.50 for the place, should have been the one!

The best horse I saw all day was Gailo Chop, too short at $1.30.



Flemington Black Caviar Lightning Stakes

February 17th, 2018

Redzel, the best horse I saw in the spring, looked a standout, lobbing around the yard with his head down. But too short at $1.20 for the place. Terravista looked impressive, a huge hindquarter, and munching on the bit, but kicking out the back; Hey Doc, twisting his neck into the strapper, grabbed by the clerk; Redkirk Warrior, the fittest horse in the yard, two strappers, salivating, and head up; Miss Rock, chewing and two strappers; Formality a clean sheet, but a stallion chain. I was briefly tempted by Miss Rock, but eventually decided it was too hard.

Dr Andrew Clarke, the CEO of Living Legends, the rest home for champion racehorses, had a string of ten horses at the track today! That’s nearly as many as Hayes and Weir, who were struggling to muster a dozen each! I missed them in the mounting yard, but caught them out the back. And there were a few good ones – Brew, Bullish Luck, Efficient, Good Ba Ba (who won $ 9million in Hong Kong!), Malucky Day, Might And Power, Paris Lane, Prince of Penzance, Rogan Josh, and  Silent Witness. Wow! What a parade!


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Caulfield Orr Stakes Day

February 10th, 2018

Not much to report although I did see a couple of unusual things. The two-year-old colt The Running Man was listed as wearing tendon boots which I can’t recall seeing on a flat horse before. And the three-year-old colt Weapon was showing stringhalt, that exaggerated flexion of a hindleg.

The cause of this unusual gait is largely unknown although there are said to be two varieties, one a neurological disorder, and the other a nutritional problem, named ‘Australian stringhalt’, and the result of grazing on poor pastures. Whatever. I like my horses to be normal!



Caulfield Race Day

February 3rd, 2018

I remember many years ago watching Michael Parkinson interview his boyhood hero, that great Australian cricketer, Keith Miller. But Miller was more than a cricketer. He was a World War 2 fighter pilot, an Aussie rules footballer with St Kilda, a carouser and womaniser, a journalist and a punter. In other words, a true blue Australian! Everybody loved Keith Miller! Parky asked him how he dealt with pressure on the cricket field. Replied Miller: “Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse!”

And so here’s the first two-year-old race of the day and I’m looking at Messerschmitt in the yard with Miller’s words ringing in my ears. Coat a gleaming dark red, as fit as a fighter, relaxed, head down. The only danger is the boom horse Kinky Boom, who also looks very striking, but has two of my pet negatives, a nose roll and a stallion chain. So it’s an easy decision. In the run Messerschmitt is the first horse to fold, as soon as the pressure is applied, and Kinky Boom runs over the top of them for an impressive win. I must say, that was very disappointing! When I got home I checked out the usual comments in the stewards report: “Rider James Winks could offer no explanation for the disappointing performance. A post race veterinary examination failed to reveal any abnormalities”. I think that the horse should be immediately renamed.

It took me a while to recover from such an inglorious start but I eventually managed to see a couple of nice relaxed horses with O’Lonera running on well for second in the seventh at $3.30 and Cliff’s Edge simply too good in the eighth at $2.25 fixed for the place. So in the end it was quite a good day, despite crashing and burning in the first!