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Flemington Autumn Raceday

March 17th, 2018

I like my horses to keep four feet on the ground. Out the back today the three-year-old gelding Holbien was bucking his brands off. But oddly enough, bucking is now a slightly positive variable in WMR. I remarked in the book: “obviously strong-willed horses that are bucking their brands off will go out and win races, but they are risky propositions, and you can be assured that I will not bet on them”.

So I followed my own advice and of course Holbien romped in at $1.90 the place. Three-year-old male horses continue to be my bête noire. Maybe it’s time to revise my opinion?



Flemington Australian Cup

March 10th, 2018

Did you see where four people have died from eating cantaloupes contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes? Victorians have been urged by the Health Department to throw out any cantaloupes purchased between the start of January and 1 March. What should I do? I have already consumed at least four cantaloupes in that time. The symptoms of listeriosis are flu-like with fever and muscle aches, but it can take up to 60 days to develop. Those most at risk are pregnant women, people with a compromised immune system, and the elderly. There is a danger of pneumonia, endocarditis and meningitis! So here I am, an elderly person, with aching muscles, and living on tenterhooks for the next 50 days!

In trepidation I head off to Flemington and when I get to the end of my street I suddenly realise I’ve left my parking sticker behind. A quick U-turn, but it means I miss the second race. I scan my members’ card at the turnstiles and mosey over to the race book stand. I have the $6 in coins ready in my hand but the nice lass advises me that the apparent $2 coin in my hand is in fact a 5 cent piece! Oh dear, I really am losing it! A quick look at some horse stalls and then into the Members Lawn, the fastest route to the mounting yard. But I am apprehended. “Where is your ticket, sir?” It’s always on my belt, but is nowhere to be seen. I’ve lost it in my first 10 minutes at track! The gate people let me through regardless because I’m such a regular customer but then I have to head off to the raceday office to report my loss. I reckon that is three marbles that have gone missing today! I’m not ready to bet until the fourth race, the Sires’ Produce Stakes for two-year-olds. Not A Single Cent looked fabulous with a positive strapper and paid a nice $3.30 for the place.

Out the back before the main race, the Australian Cup. Hartnell was fine except for the cross-over noseband. Almandin was playing up in his stall and calling out. He was pulled out every now and then and circled back in, until finally two strappers just pressed him against the back wall with all their weight. Ambitious was letting his old fella hang out. Gailo Chop was perfect. I rushed up to the yard to catch the rest of the field. Ventura Storm seemed OK, but I didn’t get a good look. And the eventual winner Harlem was fine, head down with two strappers. Gailo Chop was the one for me, but at $1.50 I watched them go around. The Taj Mahal probably brought him undone.

Only the one bet all day, mainly because I spent most of the time trying to get my confidence back and looking for those lost marbles. I asked my apprentice what was wrong with me and he suggested that I’m just getting old. Forgetfulness! I prefer to think that I must have eaten some dodgy cantaloupes!